It’s bitterly cold and we can’t help thinking that the young lass busily working in the seating area outside the Bluebird Café has landed herself with the Worst Job in the World.
Armed with a bowl of water and a toothbrush, she is scrubbing between the slats in the wooden tables, presumably to remove the residue of food partaken by previous diners. One of
our number notices that she isn’t even wearing gloves. What crime has the poor girl committed to be consigned to such a desperate punishment? She seems amazingly cheerful, despite it all, listening in to some doubtless uplifting music on her earphones
and scrubbing away assiduously with her toothbrush. We discuss, over our most welcome cups of coffee and mugs of hot chocolate, the usefulness of old toothbrushes and the importance of ensuring that they don’t get mixed up with one’s current dental
cleaning aid. The more tender among us shudder at the very thought.
We know just how cold it is outside because we have been braving the elements ourselves in
our search for The Wading Ones. Yes, indeed, today is the first gathering of 2018 for the Birdy Group and we are out in force unlike - at least so it seems at first sight - our feathered friends. Our Leader, the Lovely Linda, transported four of us to our
destination - I shared the back seat of her car with Brave Pam and Scottish Christine, though the journey didn’t start well when Christine and I had a bit of a Seat Belt Mix Up. Our Leader was on the point of coming round to do the necessary, as she
is accustomed to doing for various grandchildren, but fortunately we belted up just in time to avoid such ignominy.
The tide is way out and so are the birds. Nevertheless,
intrepid as ever, we march out towards the sea, negotiating our way through shallow rock pools and clambering over groynes. My decision not to wear my proper walking boots turns out to be a Big Mistake as I traverse a rock pool that isn’t as shallow
as I thought it; I have one slightly damp foot and one very wet foot. Because it is, inarguably, All My Own Fault, I don’t feel entitled to complain.
who is an Ace Bird Spotter, helps us to identify a number of wading birds at the edge of the water, responding with infinite patience to my continuous plaintive bleat of: “Where? Where?” Our tally includes oyster catchers, ringed plover, knots,
sanderlings, turnstones, and any number of gulls of various types. Heather suggests that a study of bird behaviour might be rewarding - for example we can easily identify the turnstone because it flips over stones in search of food beneath. I do like a bird
that does what it says on the tin.
After an hour, we make our way back to the warmth of the café where Bas takes pity on my shivering self and buys
me a latte. I wrap my hands around the cup gratefully. Whatever possessed me to come out on such a cold day without woolly hat, gloves and proper walking boots, I ask myself? Is this sensible behaviour? With a wicked east wind blowing, too. I must love my
Birdy Group very, very much to take so much pleasure in getting chilled to the bone, from my hat-less head to my wet socks. But, oh, the oyster catchers! The ringed plover! The turnstones! The sanderlings! Not the knots? Oh, yes, the knots!
Next month, the Birdy Group will be visiting The Dover where, according to a helpful check-list produced by the Lovely Linda, walking boots will be absolutely essential, due to muddy
I have been warned..