Category Archives: Uncategorized

Big bird watch 2020 – 1


We recently heard from George, who has just started working in Cambridge, full of glee because the parrots are now living in Cambridge. He’s also seen them very much at home in Thanet, London and Manchester. How long before they colonise Canterbury?

This one ripping cherry blossom to pieces was in Amsterdam but could have been up to the same tricks in any of the English places mentioned.

Wood pigeons in winter – a second glance

pigeons birch jan2020.small

This morning, as the curtains opened, here were three wood pigeons in the birch tree – and one still next-door, in the lime. Everyone in this picture is keeping a social distance, but it’s still four weeks to the birds’ wedding day on Saint Valentine’s.

Where did HE come from?


Yesterday, 2nd January, I surprised this pheasant within Canterbury’s city walls. He flew up from the river bridge into the former Tannery housing development as I cycled over the Stour, and ended up perched on this window sill.

I guess he had escaped the New Year’s shoots somewhere to the West of town and followed the river’s green corridor, across the main road and Saint Mildred’s churchyard till it narrowed to the width of the river and a row of old willows with the flat faces of the homes hard against them. He had perhaps been sharing the ducks’ breadcrumbs at river level, and panicked when I rolled up.

Let’s hope he survives; he deserves to!

In the grey Mancunian midwinter.

north pole

A railway journey across Manchester on one of the darkest days of the year. Since I was visiting my mother for her birthday, I resisted the temptation to continue towards Blackpool North (Pole), but the humour was welcome on a bleak morning.

ok not okIt was also good to see this note from Sam on behalf of the Samaritans, who are well aware that this season is not festive for everybody. Sadly, the railway is often a suffering soul’s chosen suicide spot. Sam’s message may persuade someone to ring them, as may the message on many train tickets.


samaritans.ticket nov2017By the time I was making my return journey, the weather had turned from a saturated mist to a greasy drizzle. Walking to the local station with LED headlights shining in my face was no joy.

But Saddleworth Catholic church of the Sacred Heart already had their crib on display in the porch. A reminder of the hope that is in us.

Christian or not, we are given the virtue of hope to see us through the dark times. Christian or not, a helpless babe is not hopeless. He or she reaches out in trust. ForĀ  those whose ability to trust has been eroded through others’ inhumanity, a word, a smile may make a difference. Few of us will ever find ourselves stepping in to prevent a suicide at the last moment, but we may, all unknowingly, help to do so before that.

From across the main road, my view of the crib was no better than the photo, but I knew what I was looking at: even in the darkest, murkiest times, there is hope.

crib saddleworth.jpg