I am sure I say this every year, and every year it catches me unawares, the smell of autumn. So, it is faint I admit but it is the first day I have noticed the slight change of scent in the fields, the invisible line between seasons is being crossed. This slight sump of land where the burn runs through is a favourite walk. The farmer has planted the margins with wild plants, a muddle of thistle and bramble, meadowsweet, campion, dockan and pineapple weed. A yellowhammer’s insistent call reminds me of the description in the Observers book of birds 1972 which says that the yellowhammer’s call is – ‘a little bit of bread and no cheese.’ I like that and say it repeatedly back to the bird on the telegraph wire but it seems unimpressed. Chiff chaff, wren and a couple of goldfinches. I turn north up the track, past an old ash, and a spindly, tall beech tree with a hole right through its centre, offering a view of clear blue sky, a portal. Up at the entrance to the estate two large doocots stand either side of the main gates. I meet a couple of walkers who say they are impressed by my doocots. Caught off balance by the stupid humour lurking in the comment but also by the idea that I might own said doocots I inform them they are not mine but agree on their magnificence. We chat about kingfishers and badgers and carry on our way. Past the tattie farm I spot a small bird’s nest lying on the track. Such a wonderful object, constructed of sheep’s wool, horse hair, moss and baler twine. I carry it home carefully. It has been a lovely morning in a place I know but never know, and simply by being out in the landscape it brings all manner of unexpected experiences.