Even stones have eyes

January 27, 2017


Diary 25th January

Beautiful day: clear blue dome of sky, carnivorously blue, not a cloud in sight. But very cold.

Later in the day cloud rolling in off the coast: cumulus cloud, fat, cauliflower-shaped; in the west, with the sun going down, the cloud turned brilliant orange; then the light spread, become a bar of startling redness across the cloud tops, making it seem like the sun had a wide ring around it, an orange Saturn.

We walked, like the grand old duke of York, up the hill – as far as the mast. Acid grassland all around: common bent and mat-grass, grazed by sheep, cattle and ponies into spiky stubble; tussocky beside the old quarry workings. Gorse, much of it flowering, and bracken everywhere.

Bitingly cold, though. Our noses bright red with cold. Frequent stops to blow my nose.

She said: ‘Oh, for summer’s return! Not too long now, I s’pose. I love to listen to the larks overhead, soaring and diving…’

Here during the summer you’ll encounter Linnet, Yellowhammer, Song Thrush as well as the Skylarks. And, of course, the magnificent Buzzards all year round!

Also in the summer you’ll spot wildflowers in amongst the grass: Sheep’s Sorrel, Common Cat’s Ear, Brighteye all occur here. Tussocks of Purple Moor Grass and Western Gorse provide a home for a variety of small mammals. Early one spring morning I encountered an Adder basking in the sun.

On our return we went to the pub. Sat near the fire. We drank Merlot and eat salted peanuts and pork scratchings. Then home again to glasses of brandy (It’s Burns Night but we’re out of whiskey).


Writing yesterday about youthful goings-on in Mallard Street, brought to mind the tragic death of Dr Stephan Ward, and his entanglement in the sex and espionage scandal known as the Profumo Affair. He died (or was murdered?) in a flat on Mallard Street not a stone’s throw from the site of my own teenage transgressions.

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