The Benefits Of Hearing

Jackie's hide

Blue titA new visitor alighted on the bird table today.  Jackie was able to view this creature from the hide she had constructed in the kitchen.  As usual, as for the would-be panda photographer in the Kitkat television advert, when I arrived with the camera, the bird disappeared.  She had to look it up in Dave Farrow’s ‘A Guide to the birds of Britain and Northern Europe’.  At first studying the illustration for an apparently rare garden sparrow, she eventually settled on the female blackcap.  A pied wagtail did battle with another bird that it saw off so quickly we couldn’t identify it.  A blue tit showed a preference for the fat balls.

Blossom in Castle Malwood LodgeRunning HillIn celebration of a much brighter day, blossom has come to Castle Malwood Lodge garden, and fresh lemon coloured leaves are beginning to festoon Running Hill.  I chose the first ford Q walk this morning.  A distant cuckoo intruded upon the conversation of other forest birds, just as its chicks will intrude upon their unwilling foster parents.

Black lambs and ewe

The lambs that caught my eye as I walked towards the bridle path were black with white faces.  Two of them vied with each other for either shelter or suckle under their mother.  In a display of modesty the ewe, as I peered in their direction, waddled awkwardly off.  How, I wondered, did those thin legs support that ungainly, wool-covered body?  Her offspring hopped and skipped over each other, trying to latch onto their moving target.

At the top end of the path I tried a new route by taking Tom’s Lane. Dogs running free On a bend I soon saw a notice that made me change my mind.  I was first inclined to ignore it, because it had probably been there some time.  However, around the bend there were two houses, neither of which possessed a gate.  Cattle baskingDiscretion was called for, so I retraced my steps and took Forest Road, beside which bony cattle basked in the morning sunlight.  Walking back through Newtown, watching ponies grazing, I marvelled at the amount of unrelenting mandibular exercise required to feed these animals for a day. Pony grazing It is little wonder they don’t do much else.

On two occasions I had differing reasons for being grateful for the sense of hearing.  About to approach the hill back into Minstead from ‘The Splash’ ford, the familiar clopping of an as yet out of sight horse drawn cart alerted me to the photo opportunity that was on its way.  I was therefore able to take up a suitable position.  As the carriage passed me the riders laughed at my poised lens.  ‘I’ll bet you have lots of these taken’, I cried, as I clicked.  ‘Just a few’, was the reply.

Horses and cart

There is a particular blind bend on the road up to Seamans Corner.  As usual I walked up the narrow road on my right hand side, so I would face cars coming towards me on their left.  Round the bend sped a car I had only heard.  The driver was looking in the direction of her passenger.  Had I not pinned my back to a thorn hedge in anticipation, the vehicle would have hit me.

Door to 1-2 Horse and Dolphin YardThis afternoon, my granddaughter, Alice, visiting Soho with her Mum and Dad, sent me a photograph of the front door of Nos. 1 – 2 Horse and Dolphin Yard, where Michael had lived with Jessica and me during the 1970s.  It was the roof of this building that formed part of the route to Michael’s rabbit pens described in my post of 21st May last year.

Jackie’s luscious lamb’s liver casserole followed by bread and butter pudding was for dinner.  This was accompanied by Hoegaarden by Jackie, whilst I finished the Piccini.

The Photographic Model

Birdfeeder & titsWith the aid of Dave Farrow’s ‘A Guide to the Garden Birds of Britain & Northern Europe’ we are trying to learn our birds.  This morning we think we identified a nuthatch; and great, coal, and long tailed tits; on the bird feeder.  There was also a robin, but we are fairly sure we can spot one of those.  The pole holding the feeders has gone a bit wonky, but gravity works quite well on the hanging items, even if the fixed trays are on a bit of a tilt.  I just thought I’d mention that in case anyone thought the photo was askew.

Once we had completed the building of our second Billy bookcase, we looked up to see wisps of thistledown floating around the birds.  I do believe I can honestly use ‘we’ in this context today.  Full of confidence, we had a coffee and built a third bookcase in good time to collect Sam from the railway station.  The thistledown turned out to be snow, but it was wispy, light, and, despite continuing throughout the day, not settling.

After lunch Sam went through the fourth assembly at a rate of knots.  He did allow me to bang a few nails into the backing sheet.

Derrick c1977Photograph number 12 in Elizabeth’s scanned series was taken by a young woman aspiring to be a professional. I do hope she managed it.  In about 1977 she had a portrait project to complete for her qualification course.  Unfortunately I can only remember the name of her mother, who worked in my Social Services Office.  This was Liz McKay.  The student daughter asked me to pose for her and produced a very pleasing set of black and white pictures.  It was more than thirty years later that Alex Schneideman, a true professional, was to repeat the compliment.  We will come to one of his pictures a bit further on ‘through the ages’.

The original scan was taken directly from the print, as the photographer, of course, kept the negative.  The result was covered in dust and minute hair marks.  I therefore had another iPhoto challenge, requiring quite a bit of retouching.  This was simple and successful.

Sam, we hope, had a nice relaxing time until dinner.  This was Jackie’s arrabbiata with fusilli.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  Sam and I drank Roc des Chevaliers bordeaux superieur 2010.  Jackie, as usual, quaffed her Hoegaarden.