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Time To Stand And Stare

1st of December 2010

I seem to spend a long time on the phone these days; some are nice calls from friends to see how I am, and some are not so nice business calls, often with a long wait and dreadful music. I am not a fan of any sort of music, I prefer bird song, rushing water, or the wind in the trees, but I have been able to amuse myself by looking out of the window and on to the front pond. The pond is backed by a low wall made from Hertfordshire Pudding Stones that we collected from near by fields. Farmers hate them; they are so hard they can even break the plough, so trips with our stretcher to collect them were always welcomed. They have made a good local feature. They also make a good home for mice and as I sit waiting and watching a little house mouse runs in and out of the stones, then dashes across the little waterfall. He is a dull grey colour and runs with his tail close to the ground unlike the chestnut coloured wood mouse that always runs with his tail up.
Another day, another call and this time a Grey Wagtail comes to visit the pond, bobbing along the wall and catching an insect by the waterfall. In early summer they make for upland streams and rivers, perching on boulders to feast on emerging insects. Now they are coming south to lower ground for the winter. This one may even have come from Northern Europe. Now in its winter plumage its hard to tell if it is male or female as they are both grey and black on top with a lovely patch of yellow underneath. The wait passes more quickly with this beautiful bird for company and I don’t notice that the music has stopped and the lady from the bank is finally on the line. I think she thought I had nodded off, but there is too much going on for that. Maybe I should just sit by the windows more often. Wendy Bathurst

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