Scottish Christine, binoculars trained on a grassy patch about fifty yards away, says she is sure she has spotted something "brown-ish". At the last Birdy Group get-together, regular readers may remember, she concentrated
on identifying Feathered Friends which were "robin-ish." Scottish Christine is a great believer in the Art of Approximation. It might be a thrush. On the other hand it might just be a rabbit. One way or another, it is undoubtedly "brown-ish."
Yes, the Birdy Group has gathered again, this time on the banks of the River Arun at Burpham, where we are hoping to catch sight of the reed warblers which are gossiping away well within our hearing but tantalisingly out of
of sight. So near and yet so far.
It would be a brave planner who supported housing development in this beautiful spot - but the rooks haven't heard of the Local Plan or requirements for planning permission.
They are noisily building a complete housing estate high up in the trees. There appear to be a lot of neighbourhood disputes going on and no sign of any Police Rookies prepared to step in to restore Law and Order. Nor, as far as I can see, are there any community
facilities being provided to service such a large-scale development. Once all the eggs are hatched and the chicks reared, there will be a lot of discontented Teenage Rooks hanging around tree corners with nothing to do and nowhere to go.
Of all the Birdy Group's monthly walks (or, to describe them more accurately, gentle ambles) this is probably my favourite. Mostly it's down to the time of year, with spring flowers at their best, butterflies at their most
fluttery, birds at their most tuneful. At every turn, a sight to take your breath away. See, in the distance, a quite splendid view of Arundel Castle in all its grandeur; see, in the foreground, fields of green where many an adventurous lamb, having wandered
from its mother's side, now bleats plaintively as it searches for its own mamma among the dozens of Woolly Ones. Tall Margaret and I say how sweet they are. Feisty Jean tells us we are "soft". Guilty as charged, m'Lord.
I find myself singing our choir version of "I Know It Is Springtime" under my breath. It's all those frolicking lambs, sweet primroses and daisies twinkling "like stars at our feet." I keep the sound turned down, though. There's no way I want to frighten
the birds from the trees.
Talking of choir, on Friday I found myself in the very front row, along with Sue 1, Sue 2, Sheila and Marion. Usually we are in the second row back, with a row of empty seats in front
of us. Our conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, had made her displeasure known at this state of affairs ( or state of chairs?) the previous week and asked for the empty seats to be removed forthwith. Even though we protested that Joan With The New Knee, who
always sits in the front row, will be coming back to choir soon. Anyway, this week we decided to surprise Muriel with an Unexpected Display of Uncharacteristic Obedience and so we set out just two rows of chairs for the altos (or "failed sopranos" as I prefer
to call us) instead of three. The look of happy surprise on Muriel's face was well worth it. And, as my friend Sue (number 1) pointed out, sitting in the front row, our feeble voices would be drowned out by the proximity of the piano. A valid point, as it
proved to be.
The theme for our morning's singing was "Dance", on account of the fact that Muriel had been watching that TV programme about the Young Dancer of the Year. We know lots of songs about dancing.
From Kerry Dancing to Kalinka to the Dashing White Sergeant, it was what you might call a foot-tapping morning. At the end of the session, I literally skipped into the cafe to order a coffee and a toasted tea-cake.
I have never been a good dancer. Mr B tells me, bluntly, that I have no sense of rhythm. We used to manage a most enthusiastic quick step in our youth, though in hindsight (which is a wonderful thing) I suspect I resembled a gambolling lamb. It wasn't
a good look.
Still, in my heart I am dancing with the butterflies, frolicking with the lambs, treading the light fantastic among the primroses and the bluebells. I am Isadora Duncan.
Without the scarf.