Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Extra Mile

4canal (10) (640x362)

Driving along certain motorways in England is rarely a pleasant experience, but sitting in a cabin collecting the charges for using the M6 Toll road must be at least as deadening to the spirit. Yet the other day the man in the cabin took our money – the exact change – and said, ‘Thank you, super duper!’ Just the little extra humorous touch that made a difference to our enjoyment ¬†of the next mile and more.

You can sit in a little cabin and go the extra mile.

 

Wayside

snowdropsrubbish

Some lover of nature, humanity, God or all three has set a clump of snowdrops between the fast Eurostar line to France and the old mainline from Ashford to Folkestone. Just a glimpse as we speed by, most will not notice, I too often miss them – but there they are, and beautiful they are, even from a distance. A promise that will be kept.

These, with their rubbish, were at Aylesham station, not far away.

A tale of two birds – or rather three.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d7/Stonechat_%28Saxicola_rubicola%29_male%2C_Beaulieu%2C_Hampshire.jpg/640px-Stonechat_%28Saxicola_rubicola%29_male%2C_Beaulieu%2C_Hampshire.jpg

The scattering of white feathers showed where a black-headed gull had been killed; the corpse lay a couple of feet away, the breast picked almost clean by the second bird, the sparrowhawk who has become quite familiar in this part of town. Satisfied with its meal, it had flown away already.

The third bird was totally unconcerned by this drama, and a real surprise on Abbot’s Hill. Sitting on a stump nearby: a smart, robin-like creature which was indeed a stonechat. I don’t recall seeing one locally before but he was singing as if he owned the place and had no intention of going west to the old brown hills. I feel sure he will though.

It’s a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds’ cries;
I never hear the west wind but tears are in my eyes.
For it comes from the west lands, the old brown hills.
And April’s in the west wind, and daffodils.

The West Wind, John Masefield.

stonechat

According to Boniface

hazel.jan2

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.

218px-pica_pica_-_compans_caffarelli_-_2012-03-16

 

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