Tuesday, 14 December 2010

sad deserted shore

I wandered down along the beach mid-morning just to take account of passing time and time passing.  Although I'm no photographer, I like messing about with the camera on my phone - the sepia setting seemed suitable for my mood.  Just like the sad deserted shore Sandy Denny sang about in Who Knows Where The Time Goes where "all the birds are leaving".  This one seemed almost totally bereft of bird life.  There was one solitary gull but every time I tried to take it passing by some sort of latency took place and none of the photos has a bird in it.

As I walked home I heard the most raucous screeching of gulls and saw that there were twenty or more in someone's back garden in a feeding frenzy.  No wonder there weren't any on the beach.

The Chimney Sweep came round today - one of the traditional characters around these parts.  He still wears clogs and has a VERY Suffolk accent. It took 15 poles to get his brush up our chimney - it's a three-storey house.  Anyway, he was very complementary about the way I'd fitted the stove.  That cheered me up a bit.  As he left I saw a very large bird drifting over a garden down the road.  It was a heron.  I don't see many herons this close to the sea.  By the time I got my binoculars, it had gone.  Wonderful eerie creatures.  Silent, graceful and mysterious.  The Chimney Sweep said that they look fabulous in the sky but ungainly on the ground - "all legs".  I often wear an RSPB heron badge on my suit jacket.  If anyone asks why (and they often do) I always say, "It's tall, grey* and has a big beak - remind you of anyone?"  I must admit that I am more similar to the ungainly heron on the ground than the elegant creatures in flight.

I went to buy a copy of A Christmas Carol today.  I haven't read it for years, I'm not a big fan of Dickens but I've been meaning to read it for a while now.  A good friend of mine reads it every year at this time.  As I said, it's been a long time since I read it but it has all those fantastic typical Dickens characters: Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Marley, Kermit, Fozzy and Gonzo.  If my memory serves me well . . .

However, I couldn't get hold of a copy - not even in the second hand shop.  Ah well, I guess I can wait a few days and buy it at the weekend - or perhaps download it onto Mrs Dave's Sony Reader.  That's a bit modern - not sure I'll cope reading a book electronically.  I prefer to stay unplugged when reading.

Oh well, happy St Tibba's Day to you all.  December 14th is The Feast of St Tibba.  She came from Rutland where I spent part of the half term holiday.  She's the patron saint of falconers and wildfowlers.  Ah yes, wildfowl, that's where I came in.

*corrected - see comments!


Mike C. said...

Well, I must admit I had no idea you were "gey"! Very brave of you to point it out.

We get herons flapping out of Southampton Common, straight over the main road -- it's very disconcerting. I don't really understand how they can fly with those big slow wings (and what do they do with their legs -- are they retractable?).


Dave Leeke said...

I told you I was ill! Ah well, at least I can edit the comment (which I will). Isn't it interesting that no matter how many times you check, there's always a mistake - and usually a good one. I tell students to come back later after they've written something because they always see what they expect to see.

Hoist by my own petard, indeed!

As for herons (even after all these years I still get excited seeing them), they just let them stick out the back, so to speak.

Thanks for the card, Mike. Happy Christmas (when it arrives).