Every third Sunday in the month a group of spinners – we’ve been just two, and we’ve been about fifteen in number – meet, informally, in Dolgellau. My route there is along one of the most beautiful roads I know, running beside the Mawddach estuary:
It’s a pleasure to drive it. Well, at some times of the year. Not when you’re behind four caravans, three motor homes and have a suicidal middle-aged biker attempting to overtake all the queue in one go. (The nurses in A&E at one local hospital have a name for the bikers: organ donors – just saying.)
At this time of year, though, the road is quiet and the colours are amazing.
And the venue is a great one, as well:
A rather lovely cafe, once a hardware shop, with a spacious upper room and excellent cheese scones. And cake. And lemon meringue pie. And flapjacks to die for. And very good coffee. And a truly enormous range of herb teas and tisanes. Did I mention the lemon meringue pie?
The cafe isn’t the only thing to tempt us, either, because we are the Sunday Market Spinners. We meet on the third Sunday for a good reason – it’s the farmers’ market too. And I just have to pick up a monthly treat – a bar from Cariad Chocolates. Someone was buying up the stall, but I did manage to get my paws on a dark chocolate with salted caramel.
(I’m sure the rucksack wasn’t only for chocolate.)
This Sunday I couldn’t spin (well, I could spin, but not with a wheel, my BPPV – benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – is not good), so I took my knitting. But I couldn’t look down to knit without incurring more dizziness, so I didn’t stay very long – it was good to have the company, but all those rotating wheeeeeeeee…. no.
And it just made me envious, anyway. I’ve almost finished spinning a Shetland fleece of passing loveliness, and I want to get on with the Christmas knitting, but I couldn’t. I know the vertigo will pass, but there’s no point pushing it too much. So I took an earlier-than-usual trip back, and stopped off in a layby beside the estuary to take a few more photographs of the glorious autumn colour. It really has been quite exceptional for us this year.
Gradually I became aware that I was attracting some unwelcome attention. From something, oh, about 10cm long. A robin. A robin which definitely and emphatically wanted me gone.
It was shouting at me from the fence and then it hopped down onto the ground and made little runs in my direction, getting quite close. More unnerving was when it took off and flew straight at me, instantly giving me Hitchcockian visions. Rather wimpishly, I retreated to the car, where I sat for a moment wondering about exactly what had happened, and why it had happened. I put my camera away and got out of the car again to make sure I hadn’t imagined it, and that it wasn’t a one-off. And the robin did it again – flying straight towards my face, almost hovering (I didn’t realise robins could do that), frantically fanning its wings. I wear glasses – perhaps it had seen its reflection in the lenses and thought there was another robin there? So, a little nervously, I went back and took my specs off, then carefully approached the robin again. And it did it a third time, though it flew back to the fence when I moved forwards. At this I decided that I was just stressing it out too much, and left; I’d got my shots anyway.
Now this isn’t entirely unheard of; in fact, there’s a discussion here about it, in which it was concluded that the robin concerned had probably seen its reflection in a camera lens. But when the layby robin made its second flight at me, I wasn’t using my camera; the lens was covered. And when it went after me the third time, I wasn’t even wearing my glasses. I’m used to aggressive robins in my own garden – for a while we had the top garden robin and the bottom garden robin, and they used to meet in the middle garden and yell at each other. But I’ve never experienced anything like this. Most peculiar. Psycho killer Mawddach robins.
At least I’d got my chocolate to console me and more beautiful, if rather chilly, views.
What a surreal Sunday. No spinning, but spooked by a robin. A robin, for heaven’s sake. The things that pose on Christmas cards, carrying mistletoe in their beaks. Probably holding it so they can ram it in someone’s eye. From now on, I shall think of all robins as being drunken thugs and possibly also Glaswegian – ma’ layby, see you, Jimmy…