My first walk today was through the woodland. After a while, I diverged from the footpath, and, although I kept it vaguely to my left, found it difficult to regain until I noticed a rope with strips of coloured cloth lying on the ground and leading off in the right direction. I had seen the other end of this a couple of days ago, so I followed it with success, and returned home in time for Jackie to drive Becky and me to Emsworth, so our daughter could keep an appointment in Havant and I could take a further amble around the quay.
From North Road I took the path through St James’s Churchyard to the A259 which I crossed and turned into Bath Road. I followed this alongside the Mill Pond as far as the Sailing Club and walked around the pond, along Fisherman’s Walk and down the jetty. This occupied me until the light changed as the dazzling sun gradually made way for the gentler moon. It had grown dark by the time my chauffeuse and Becky picked me up again at the corner of Bath Road. I had hoped to photograph the ‘litter nest’ which, for the last three years has been found beneath the bridge over the pond at that point. It was no longer there, so I have used Rosemary Hampton’s illustration from 2013. Becky told me the story. The nest, made from assorted pieces of litter, has been home to a pair of mute swans and their intended progeny. There has been much local concern at the failure to thrive of eggs that have been laid there, because the nest has regularly become waterlogged. This year, for example, of a clutch of six, only one has survived. It is seen in the foreground of this photograph I took today: Conservationists have cleared away the nest and will place a nesting raft on the site. Any home built on it will float on the rising waters. In the bright afternoon sunshine seagulls squabbled over food that was being thrown to the waterfowl, by numerous walkers along the banks. Ducks, swans, gulls and coots played, paddled, drank, and fished in the pond. The tide was out on the far side of the well populated Fisherman’s Walk and under the jetty. Water dripped from their beaks as swans waddled, paddled, and slaked their thirst among coots, egrets and other wading birds among the silt and shallow stretches. One flapped its wings; another managed admirably on its one leg; and a seemingly inseparable pair formed curving patterns as they danced along.
Pleasure boats lay apparently stranded.
A gentleman on the jetty pointed out godwits to his female companion.
Honking of geese at times filled the skies, at others dominated strips of water.
Jackie produced a splendid penne bolognese, with which she and Ian drank Peroni, for our evening meal. I finished the Cotes du Rhone Villages.