Communal Bath

Quite early this morning we drove to Mudeford to look at the sea. The sun briefly outlined the horizon; the waves were very choppy and

determined to bubble over the wall onto the promenade. I needed to be unaccustomedly quick on my feet to keep them dry, whereas

a reflecting fisherman just paddled patiently.

As I watched the water dripping from a walker’s uplifted foot I wondered whether his dog really wanted a walk as it hopefully hugged the bollards yet would probably pick up wetter paws when circumventing each vacant bench ahead.

Sailboarding was under way –

more so in the more sheltered harbour away from the open sea. Some of these gentlemen, nevertheless couldn’t keep out of the water for long.

One came a cropper behind a capsized sailboat against which the thud of the waves syncopated with the

tinkling of the rigging of the parked sailboats

and drowned the gentler lapping of the soft sea foam frothing over the coastal pebbles.

From her car Jackie focussed on a more distant fisherman who was himself beset by spray battering rocks.

Nearer at hand she was so engrossed with a clutch of iridescent-flecked starlings that she might have missed the one perched upon her wing mirror had it not begun to shout at her.

Gulls soon moved in, one pointing out the necessity to pay for parking, and another

attempting to join in the starlings’ communal bath.

Finally she snapped her fisherman packing up.

The evening we dined on “definitely the last serving” of Jackie’s still succulent beef and mushroom pie, boiled potatoes, carrots. cauliflower and runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank The Second Fleet Lime Stone Coast Shiraz 2019.


  1. Such poetic captions to your outstanding images. That starling by Jackie’s mirror wanted to be certain to be included in the portraits,

  2. I’ve enjoyed the visit to the coast, thank you.
    Seems like Jackie is a bird whisperer and hasn’t yet realised.
    Is Nugget still not around? Neither are the ones that usually appear here. I haven’t seen any since spring.

  3. It’s all rather wintery. Looking at those fabulous pictures of feathered friends I’ve decided that Jackie’s a bird whisperer.

  4. Wow! Great photos today, Derrick. Of course, I love the bathing starlings…more nuggets! Whatever you do, don’t get too close to that rough water! Jackie’s up close shots are fantastic. What a great day!

  5. I was immediately taken by the header photo and then came to the companion photo with the seagull saying, “Hey, what about me?” I also really liked Jackie’s black-and-white photos. I got a kick out of the definitely last serving of beef and mushroom pie. When my brother and I were growing up and we turned our little (or teenaged) noses up at the fare, my mother would observe tartly, “You will see it again.”

  6. delightful photo story as always, Derrick! great images all around though i feel sorry for the dog the very wet starlings! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  7. That was an entertaining visit to the roiling coastline and the players attempting to gain traction in some form or other. Your philosophical brooding about the inconvenience the dog was put to unbeknownst to his keeper is at par with the fisherman gazing at the surging waves. The syncopated noise on the wind lends an aural dimension to the narration.

  8. The (European) Common Starlings here sport yellow beaks as this is their breeding season. I enjoyed the photograph of their communal bathing for, even on the hottest of days, I only see one or two at the birdbath.

  9. OOH, handsome sailboarder and handsome fisherman! πŸ˜€
    All of your photos today are beautiful, Derrick…rich with motion, action, textures, emotions!
    Jackie’s photos are so great! That little starling is so precious and had some things to tell Jackie! πŸ™‚
    Most dogs don’t like wet of any kind…so I’m sure that doggie wanted to be at home. πŸ™‚ Coop doesn’t mind snow…but he’s not fond of rain. πŸ™‚
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  10. Your photograph of the young starlings talking their energetic bath is lovely. Starlings used to be a familiar bird in our street, but, alas, they have become rarities over the last decade at least.

  11. The sea is beautiful in every weather, I think. Such an awe inspiring thing to behold – especially when the wind is whipping it up. Love the shot of the bathing starlings!

  12. I enjoyed this wet day with you. I am surprised to see so many people out in the wet and wind, but all those different characters do give me a sense of a typical winter day, as Andrew said. I just love that Jackie caught the iridescence on the feathers of the starlings, which is probably my favourite thing about their appearance. There is so much water splashing over the barriers, it seems dangerous. Are there ever stories of people being washed away by the waves? Sadly there are stories like that every year here. People can’t resist the stormy days and head down to the sea wall to watch – sometimes at great risk.

  13. Starlings are another thing to add to the list of imported animals that have outlived their welcome.
    As for fishing I wonder if anyone has done a survey on just how many hours are spent and for what result. I have only ever seen a few people actually pull a fish in from the sea.

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