Some of the Hawthorns are washed deep crimson with berries. By the towpath, small brown thrushes fly from the hedge. I'm sure they're Redwings because I briefly hear a 'chuckle' call. Redwing also have a high-pitched 'tseeeip' contact call but this is beyond the range of my disco-damaged hearing.
These are the first winter migrant thrushes that I've seen this autumn.
I've no problems though hearing the throaty 'grockle' of a Pheasant on the opposite bank. The stubble field between here and the river is half underwater so where the pheasant might normally stand four Mallards are now dabbling.
A Grey Heron flies over against the brooding sky.
The odd flowers - Smooth Sowthistle, Oxford Ragwort and Cow Parsley - that are still out along the towpath seem out of place in this dripping wet November landscape.
All HallowsBefore it was Christianised, All Hallows Day or All Saints' Day was the first day of the Celtic year. All Saints' Day was originally celebrated on the 1st May which is also the Celtic Beltane. Perhaps one of the old Celtic customs got transferred from spring to autumn along with the Christian festival; at Beltane cattle were driven between bonfires set on hilltops in what may have been a purification ritual to guard against disease.
I wonder if it works. New statistics suggest that as many as 250,000 of us, may eventually die from the human form of Mad Cow Disease.
In the canal-side pub car park there's a pile of wood for a bonfire. Wood smoke drifts from the chimney cowl of a narrowboat, while a pipe-smoking man chatting to its occupant creates his own passing white cloud.