The Wandle Piscators

This morning we awoke to birdsong.  Yes, song.  No more raucous chattering of magpies.  Could the plague have passed?  A different, territorial, conflict took place.  From our window we joined the audience of a wren and a wood pigeon watching a stand-off between two robins.  The victorious combatant joined them on the fence and they wereContinue reading “The Wandle Piscators”

A Pair Of Sandals

The magpie wars continue.  Not simply in our garden and the adjacent railway embankment, but also on Cannon Hill Common, where I walked today.  Parakeets in an oak tree were particularly excited by them.  I’ve never seen so many magpies.  There are two on the grass and two in a fir tree in the garden asContinue reading “A Pair Of Sandals”

Nettle Rash

The air this morning was full of agonised screeches.  Otherwise, silence.  We couldn’t actually see anything, but suspected the magpies or foxes were doing their stuff.  The magpies were certainly about later.  Parent birds were offering strong resistance. On my usual route through Morden Hall Park to Colliers Wood, for a change, I took aContinue reading “Nettle Rash”

Prescience?

This morning’s dominant bird calls at The Firs were of wood pigeons; those without a mate crying ‘uni-ted’, and those happily paired off ‘take two cows taffy, take two cows’. I worked on tidying the bed inside the concrete ring and digging over a bed outlined earlier in the year. The combination of gardening, myContinue reading “Prescience?”

Mrs. Barbe-Baker’s Summer House

Last night and early this morning the only birdsong in the garden was the magpie warning call, a kind of incessant chattering.  There certainly are a lot of them about.  This morning, however, the mother fox and a cub, basking in the sunshine, were definitely the subject of the warning.  Mum was studiously ignoring a magpieContinue reading “Mrs. Barbe-Baker’s Summer House”

Miss Downs

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather I walked up to Wimbledon common just before midday with a couple of books and sat reading by the pond in which I’d sailed my boat as a child.  The bench I had chosen was inscribed IN MEMORY OF DOUGLAS WARD CAMPBELL. As always when passing Wimbledon Library, situatedContinue reading “Miss Downs”

Payback

Last night I finished reading Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.  This is a book which Judith Munns ‘loves’ and which Rachel Eales studied for GCSE.  In 1960, when I gained my English Literature A Level, five years before the trial of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, nothing so explicit would have graced the curriculum.  In her new introductionContinue reading “Payback”

For Kate

As I had not seen them for a few days I had become rather worried about the foxes lately  All, however, must be well because, it being bin collection day, there was, this morning, the usual evidence of their presence all over the front lawn. On this the second successive summery day I set off asContinue reading “For Kate”

The Scent Of A Squirrel

Last night I finished reading the National Trust guide to Chartwell which, as they say, is synonymous with Churchill.  Reading of the country’s reaction to his death took me back to 1965 when I was working for Mobil Shipping Company in a building nicknamed The Pill Box, situated outside Waterloo Station near the end ofContinue reading “The Scent Of A Squirrel”