The Coots on the more distant church pond have six young according to my count. The bright, plant laden water boils to an adult's abrupt dive for food. The young strangely reddened about the head almost as if bloodied from their parent's equally sudden re-emergence into the light. The other pond, much nearer to the road, is still providing interest for two more adults but still no signs of a nest. I feel guilty as they vanish into the water plants at my deliberately light-footed passing by. I do not stop to stare until out of sight beyond the upright, concealing fringes of reeds and rushes. Will a solitary walker ruin their chance of having young this year? In between the traffic, up to a minute can pass without the roar of tyres on coarse gravel. The silence is well filled with countless birds as they flit from side to side of the road or move away, ahead of me.
The warmth almost seems to dampen the sounds of the countryside as several hundred geese pass over in ragged chevrons. The hedges are presently adorned with an incredible range of blossom. Making one wonder how so many varieties could find themselves in roadside hedgerows. Some of them may be escapees from gardens, of course. Perhaps from homes now lost to memory. Hovels too ramshackle to sustain modern living standards as the price of plumbing and electricity accelerate steadily away from unfortunate home-owners.
Inherited thatch is a cruelly heavy burden on the penniless or those on a fixed income. The close-passing traffic a constant blight on already frayed senses. When the elderly move into a care home, die intestate, or without surviving family, the place may lie unloved and un-repaired for years. Eventually having fallen into such disrepair that the council finally places a demolition order. Overnight, the sad little dot on the old map is suddenly no more. Sometimes a local pyromaniac hastens the loss. Several unsold and dilapidated cottages have gone that way. Once burnt, and with no insurance or interest in re-building on the site, the council has no option but to send in the excavators. It is a well rehearsed and efficient clearance system leaving nothing but bare earth when the decision is finally taken. The contractors are thorough and skillful in separating the components of a what may a centuries old [former] family home. Just another rest day.
Saturday 14th 51-60F, 11-15C, very cloudy, light breeze, rain forecast for later. It was bright and sunny for my walk but a chill NW wind as it struggles towards 60F, 16C. I watched a very pale warbler with a short song phrase bobbing about in the hedgerow until a noisy van drove it away. A mixed peloton of cyclists passed in a cheerful mood. I shall go out early to avoid the promised rain.
A few drops fell from a dark cloud as I prepared to leave but I stayed dry throughout. Lots of muck spreaders and tankers about today. Crosswind both ways but more benign on the way there. Cruising at 18-20mpg going. Only up to 16mph coming back. 16 miles. Shops all very busy. It is now cooling as the afternoon wears on with occasional hail and 40F!