According to Boniface

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Walking up to Church this morning we saw the first tips of pussy willow and of course the hazel was bright in the hedgerow, lambs’ tails shaking themselves out before the real lambs are allowed in the fresh air – but that won’t be long now!

As Father Boniface pronounced, basking in the sun, ‘I think we can say that Spring is here! They’re silent now – it was 11.30 – but this morning they were in full throat!’

I’ve not heard that expression for a while. Enjoy the Spring!

 

The Birds’ Valentine’s Day.

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As we crossed the cloister at Luther King House in Manchester we heard a chuckle from the top of a leafless tree. A pair of magpies were building their nest in a fork of the upper branches. The structure was at an early stage, just a few twigs, but if they decide to finish the next it will have a dome and provide good shelter for the young ‘pies as they grow quickly into adulthood.

It was Mrs T who made the connection that it was Valentine’s Day, the day the birds are said to marry.

In nearby Whitworth Park we saw parakeets who clearly considered themselves wild members of the local fauna. We’re used to them in Kent but did not expect to spot them so far North!

Magpie photo

 

 

No-one to kiss.

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Winter, and I had a window seat on the train to work. Along a quarter mile or so where the rails run near the river it was plain that some trees were not infested with ivy but with mistletoe, not yet enough for a commercial harvest – unlike these trees in Oxford. Has the University or the College considered such an income stream? There was one small clump in a tree above the railway cutting, close enough to warrant a kiss – but Mrs Turnstone was five miles away in the supermarket.

Indifferent gulls.

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Seen from the train in Kent this morning, a field with winter cereal showing through, and a flock of gulls keeping their social distance from each other. Other than keeping a rather greater distance from it, they were ignoring a fox in the middle of the field, eating what seemed to be another gull.

These gulls keeping their social distance were at Portree on the Isle of Skye.

Time to Stop and Stare

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We had an appointment in Canterbury city centre and were almost there when we spotted something white in the tree downstream. Stop. Stare. Stare again. It was not witches britches – air-borne plastic impaled in the branches – but a little egret, shining in the sun. Not long ago a rare visitor to Kent, now almost a familiar friend.

By the time we’d done snapping with our phones, a small crowd had gathered. I hope the sight lifted hearts a little.

 

Star of Wonder …

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This Christmas we saw one bright star in the sky -but it was far more to the West than the East Рshining shortly after sunset Рso it most certainly was not the Star of Bethlehem! 

In fact it was not even a star, but our planetary neighbour, Venus.

There she was, a perfectly good reminder of the Babe of Bethlehem. Venus shines with a reflected light, not her own, and that’s exactly what is asked of her.

And let’s look up to the stars – at least when the cloud cover allows – and just wonder.