Alex's twenty-seventh birthday today - how on earth did that happen? While he was out working at Barnack Hills and Holes, I prepared a special birthday meal containing many of his favourite foods - grilled figs with Parma ham, slow-cooked venison with blackberries, honey buns, lots of veg, rice pudding and baked pears with maple syrup. I also made some sugar and cinnamon coated pecans to accompany the pears - these were very easy to do and a great success - I will make more at Christmas. His girlfriend brought along some home made lemon drizzle cakes which were very yummy. A lovely evening full of chat and laughter.
My domestic goddess role didn't take all day, so I managed an afternoon walk round Southey Wood, where I caught up with the flock of Common Crossbill that have been around for much of the summer and autumn. They tend to stay quite high in the trees and are often difficult to see, let alone photograph. This brightly coloured male seemed to be acting as a lookout and spent some time perched in the top of the tallest fir trees. Consequently, this image is very cropped!