The habit started one morning a few years ago when a persistent robin began to make demands. The following morning pockets were ready with grated cheddar. From then it seemed hard on him to miss out a morning treat and he got to come on my hand. The development of the Old Wall Caff with regular supplies of seeds and sundry extras seemed a natural extension and the variety of customers has grown, the latest being a crow and a cock pheasant who choose to visit after all the others and as we are making our way home: it's usually a good idea to look back. Three different robins have over the years chosen to feed from the hand, largely in order to beat the others to the food. But our favourite customer was Scruffy the great tit, the boldest of all, who couldn't wait for the cheese box to be opened. He sadly is no longer a visitor and may have taken his last meal. Now two robins are arguing about which should be first onto the hand. But, for me, the handsomest customer at present is our male blackbird. Perhaps in spring he will reward us with the finest bird song of all.
We worry about snow and the birds missing their regular meal just when it would be most welcome, The problem is access: Blacka's car park is never cleared, unlike that at nearby Longshaw (why?). There is a short steep slope coming out that some of us can't risk, unlike the dog walkers with large 4X4s. Perhaps one of those who reads this could volunteer to feed the birds for us on days we can't manage? Laybys on the Hathersage Road may or may not be cleared: this latest snowfall they were not.