Rockin’ robins tweet Led Zep in my lambing shed


Farmer DOUGIE WATKIN grazes sheep at East Newburn, Northumberland, on the English side of the Tweed at Norham and on the Scottish side at Ladykirk. Doug is a keen conservationist and local politician


THOSE OF US of a certain age will surely know the feeling of not being really ‘bouncy happy’ when another birthday comes around.

For us country folk there are other little sad/happy events: those weird moments when we experience the sensation of two opposite emotions at once.

Well folks, one afternoon this week as i went into our lambing shed two robins burst out into winter song, a tweet totally different to the song we have been hearing since February.

Robins: sharp, melodic Led Zep riffs!

The winter song is the sharpest, most melodic sound; it’s amazing that such a small bird can manufacture a Led Zepplin riff, echoed by a rival for winter quarters in that big, empty lambing shed.

Gorgeous! But, like our enjoyment of the first geese, who will be coming onto nearby Lindisfarne (Holy Island) usually on the first Friday in September (now there’s a prediction!), the smile is tinged with a little shiver.

A skein of geese on the wing: they’ll be on Holy Island in September

Maybe it’s the thought of those nithering east winds and numbed fingers, or maybe its tha little tingle in your knee joints and your back which remind you of too many passing seasons.

But knowing the circle keeps turning and your favourite time will soon returns also brings a smile.

I love watching the seasons turn. Sadness is always overcome by expectation, that’s what makes the world go round.


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