‘Well, it’s been quite a disappointment, you know. I mean, it was a Supermoon, and all that. Admittedly, it was the third – we’ve had a good year, this year – so I suppose we shouldn’t be too upset, but, well, everything was organised – and then, to be let down at the last minute!’
‘It was that Cat. That faithless, fiddling feline! He had agreed to be here with us – and then he took better booking.’
‘Oh, a big herd, just over the border in Dumfries and Galloway. We certainly don’t have the resources to compete with them. And then, to add insult to injury, he offered to upload the music to our phones instead – for half the original fee!’
‘Exactly what I said, “Whatever happened to tradition?” I said, so we decided it would be better to cancel.’
‘Yes, the Little Dog was a bit put out – said he’d been looking forward all week to howling with laughter, but he was very understanding. We refunded his ticket, of course.’
‘The Dish and The Spoon? Oh, they don’t care. They have a caravan in Wales, you know. They run off to it all the time. Near New Quay, I believe.’
‘Oh, is it? Dolphins and everything, really? How nice!’
Walking down the lane towards the gate one day this week, I thought I saw a large brass button lying amongst the wind blown drifts of oak twigs and leaves. Not a nice shiny button, you understand, but a brass button that had lain there for a while – long enough to acquire a colourful patina of verdigris.
I cleared away a little of the debris to open a less obstructed view and my brass button turned into a mushroom, or perhaps, my brass button turned into a toadstool. I know they are both a fungus, but this was such a bright shiny blue that I hesitated to affix that slightly unsavoury label to it. However, on careful consideration, I had to admit to myself, that the thought of this morel as a savoury morsel sat uncomfortably on the appetite.
Now, as you are well aware, it’s not what you know, but who you know in this world, that makes the difference. Google and I are, if not friends, at least, nodding acquaintances. However, when it comes to the various varieties of fungus, Google, really, doesn’t have a clue.
I was going to start by saying that no picture of a sparrow could be complete without, at least, a reference to Edith Piaf. Then I stopped to think about it. She died in 1963, unless you’re over fifty, possibly over sixty, you have, most likely, only the vaguest idea who she was. To be honest, I remember very little about her myself. I do remember, as a very small child, being made, by my father, to sit and watch a juddery, speckled, black and white television programme – with some lady singing on it. The importance of the programme was that it was the first time a show televised in France was shown live in England – the BBC were showing off their new lightweight outside broadcast equipment. My father, naturally, thought I ought to be aware of such an historic event.
‘Who’s that lady singing?’ I asked, to relieve the boredom.
‘It’s Edit Piaf. Hush now. Mummy’s trying to listen.’ I was told.
You know the strange way you remember things? Well, I remember this all very clearly, where many other events in my life – of probably much greater import – seem to have lost their certainty.
But there is one thing that I’m not sure of. You see, for all these years I have felt confident that the song she was singing was “La Mere”. But, her signature song, which she would surely have used on such an auspicious occasion, was “La Vie en Rose”.
I wonder if there’s anyone at the BBC who remembers?
October is upon us, and although we are still living the high life of British Summer Time (and proud of it – none of your Universal Time Coordinates or even boring old Daylight Saving Time for us, I tell you!) it won’t be long before we have to downsize – back to the cold and drab of mean old Greenwich time.
Autumn is waiting in the wings, occasionally she peeks out through the curtain – just to see what sort of audience she has. Most days we have a little rain and a little sunshine but, now and again we are treated to a tiny taste of what is to come – we have a day when the world doesn’t bother to get out of bed and she leaves the curtains drawn. On these days, we struggle through the gloom, with our horizons only extending to the nearest damp and bedraggled sheep.
Winter is a time often associated with ‘Good Flying Weather’. Bright, sharp sunlight and the air so cold and thick that you only need half as much under your wings as you usually do.
This is one of the former days – not one of the latter.
Low visibility. Low cloud ceiling. No flying today.
During the Spring and on into Summer, we entertain you with the local flora and fauna. At the first promise of relief from the dark, damp and cold of Winter’s tail-coats, we offer a panorama of country life, a bay window on the biosphere as it goes about its business.
Lambs, of course, are our first line of defence against annual ennui, we quickly follow that with our, very personable, sheep. A few cows, perhaps, at this point? Then, as Spring moves off, leaving everything spick and span for Summer, we have an array of wild flowers, complete with comments by Google, for your elucidation.
Summer starts in a relaxed mood, but as Autumn nears she begins to feel the pressure and to worry that things won’t be ready on time.
Autumn is the opposite, She comes in with a great bustle, sending the rooks off, to fly in raucous waves, washing over field and new turned furrow. Hay is mown, hedges are trimmed, and the clouds scurry in from the west, looking for a comfortable roosting place. All we are left to photograph – is thistle down – in short, fluff. This is the time of year when the grumble and whine of a passing helicopter is most welcome.
Google says that this is a R44 mkII made by the Robinson Helicopter Company. They have a factory in California with the capacity to manufacture 1000 helicopters a year. They currently only make a couple of hundred, so if you have the price of a decent three bedroom house handy, I’m sure they’d be pleased to hear from you.