It is officially spring. There is snow on the mountains and a chill in the air. The house stands between its bare trees gazing out over the bay whilst in the garden new life stirs.
Yet, life that is over leaves remains that have to be disposed of - by insects, woodlice and especially fungi.
Its latin name is Daldinia concentrica and is also known as cramp balls or coal fungus. It is inedible and definitely does not look appetising. (though, I suppose, it could resemble Bury black pudding.)
I think I will give them a miss.
The old seat made from a fallen trunk of an ash tree is sporting bracket fungi.
They are fascinating whether in large clumps or singly.
Looking at them closely their colours, albeit shades of brown and grey are beautiful. In some ways they remind me of an oyster shell - though no pearl, no lovely oyster inside.
In the second image there are two different kinds together.
These are not the only clumps in the garden - another speaks of new life and is heaped up so much in the pond it is sticking out of the surface.
I mean the frogspawn.
Every time I approach the pond there is a great kerfuffle as the frogs bury themselves in the mud at the bottom or dive under the water cress.
They are fascinating creatures - and so far no heron has arrived.
The pond is fed from both the stream and the ditch below the hedge where the hazel catkins are shedding pollen like dust on the breeze for the small red flowers to catch.
Even in the wood where the ground is carpeted in leaf and twig litter promise is erupting. These small green leaves are the first signs of the wild bluebell and foretell the coming of the carpet of blue later in the year. Every year they spread, and are spread, and the sea of blue grows wider.
I am sitting here bathed in music - John Denver is singing Annie's song and the Carpenters have just finished Solitaire (written by Neil Sedaka.) Whoops! Change of style - Brook Benton and Kiddio now.
This has nothing to do with gardening.
In fact most of today's blog is about observation - just seeing and experiencing the changes that happen with the seasons, the moving on of SAD as the sun comes up and general feeling of well-being with spring.
R and I went out onto a nearby hill called Birkrigg this afternoon and sat in the sunshine looking at the 360 degree view - from the Irish Sea clockwise to the Lake District, the Leven Estuary and distant Howgills, over Morecambe Bay and back to the sun on the ebbing tide. It was beautiful.
Even from the house on the hill we can see many miles to the south. It adds an extra dimension to the garden, enhances it.
I am now listening to the Eriskay Love Lilt. My mother used to sing it. She was an accomplished Mezzo.