I took great care to change out of my muddy trousers before I headed off to do my afternoon duty at Open Church. It had, indeed, been a very muddy Birdy Group yesterday morning.
Muddy - but perfectly lovely with it. I was most grateful because the rest of my week (Wednesday afternoon’s Nomination Whist Group excepting) was not looking too rosy. I had had to cancel our regular Thursday morning
Sporting Memories gathering because the Special Care dentist is coming sometime between 9.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. This means, of course that (I) we will almost certainly have to stay in all day; and (ii) Mr B won’t be able to crow about Tottenham Hotspur’s
recent victory to the rest of the Sporting Memories crowd. Nor will I be able to go to Friday morning’s Singing for Pleasure choir, as I have an appointment at the hospital with the consultant who operated on my Problem Shoulder all those many months
ago. Regular readers will remember that I have nicknamed her “Tigger” on account of the fact that she is so very, well, bouncy.
A morning with the
Birdy Group was therefore exactly what I needed - and our venue was beautiful Pulborough Brooks where the sound of twittering greeted us as we (the Lovely Linda and I) arrived in the car park. It was all very promising. Other members of our gang arrived in
the car park just after us, while others were waiting inside, taking advantage of the opportunity to explore the shop, with its delightful mix of Bird Related Items. Impressively, Cindy had brought with her a scope on a tripod which she proceeded to carry
around the whole reserve. It made our whole Birdy Group look so very professional. There were apparently two other groups from neighbouring U3A (University of the Third Age) branches visiting the Reserve on the same day as us - I didn’t actually manage
to meet up with them to compare notes but they must have been impressed...
When reporting on the regular monthly meetings of the Birdy Group, I have often commented,
ungrammatically, that “birds is birds.” By this I mean that, on any given day, we might be very successful in spotting our feathered friends - but on another day we might be lucky to see a few pigeons and a robin. Today was Really Rather Special.
Our first stop along our way was in a woodland area where, to our great delight, a Greater Spotted Woodpecker spent a considerable amount of time making sure we had all seen
him and expressed an appropriate level of appreciation at the brightness of his apparel. He wasn’t alone - we all lost count of the number of tits (of all varieties) who came to snack on the feeders, along with cheerful robins, a nimble nuthatch, greenfinches,
chaffinches and sparrows a-plenty. A strange igloo-shaped construction on the grassy area puzzled us - it had a door (locked) and some kind of heating system but didn’t look as if it had any windows though it was hard to tell, covered as it was in tarpaulin.
We decided (on absolutely no evidence) that it was intended for school parties needing shelter from the elements.
Up at Jupp’s View, Cindy’s
scope really came into its own. With characteristic generosity she would set it up trained on one set of waterfowl after another and invite us all to peer through. Ron, who had been trying to persuade us all that he had spotted Sneaky Snipe out on a distant
peninsula, was particularly pleased when Cindy’s scope picked out five of the Sneaky Ones. Vindicated! his expression clearly indicated.
Coffee and a scone
in the cafe and then we were off home. For me, it was to be a quick turnaround. I don’t generally leave Mr B Home Alone more than once in a day but yesterday duty called. As did the District Nurse whose visit, though always welcome, made me in even more
of a rush. Leaving Mr B snoozing comfortably in front of “Shakespeare and Hathaway” on TV, I grabbed my coat and car keys, slipped on my shoes and ran.
was only five minutes late arriving at church. “Shall I put the kettle on?” I carolled when I was but halfway through the door. Nobody declined so off I went to prepare beverages and raid the biscuit tin on everyone’s behalf. It was quite
a relief to take a pew and wrap my hands around my coffee mug. Then -
“Have you been gardening?” one of my companions queried, with a nod at my shoes
which still (shamefully) carried rather too many marks of my morning’s muddy ramble.
I was well and truly shamed..