We’re only halfway through February – a time of the year more normally associated with snowstorms and claggy weather – but already there’s a flavour of spring in the air; blue skies, shadows probing the thawed earth, and just a hint…the mildest suggestion…of warmth in the sunshine.
We took the Mouse Boat from Stony Lane Bridge in Forton up to Potters Brook (where somebody had stolen the apostrophe); me, Michelle, Janet and Jim. Janet and Jim are becoming regular crewmembers these days. We’re going to have to buy them mugs with their names on at this rate.
Beneath the wooded section, or rather above it, where the branches weave together like the vaulted ceiling of some organic cathedral, we saw three buzzards. Their haunted calls, mixed with the voices of all the other excited birds mistakenly believing that spring had arrived, gave the place a tropical aviary sort of atmosphere. I’ve never seen buzzards up close before. They’re quite impressive. Unfortunately, Michelle didn’t manage to photograph them, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
She did manage, however, to photograph this young lady on the stern of her boat, brushing her teeth. Why she was brushing her teeth on the stern of her boat at two o’clock in the afternoon, we didn’t ask. Everybody needs a hobby, I guess.
At Potters Brook itself (still missing its apostrophe) the CRT folk were hard at work, drinking brews in their cabs and occasionally slouching out in their wellies to give their dredgers a pointless kick. There was probably some logic involved in the exercise, but the CRT are not the sort to divulge their secrets to all and sundry.
We said hello to the alpacas, as you do. I like alpacas. They have amusingly shaped heads and bouncy personalities. It’s probably all a cunning deception, though. Slowly but surely, similar to the advance of the American grey squirrels against our native reds, they’re replacing the sheep around these parts as the farmers’ favourite. Expect alpaca butties on a menu near you soon.