Thursday 16 October 2014

It had been a windy night; beech nuts were popping under my feet

It’s been a windy night and the beech nuts are popping under my feet. The street lights are out again and it would be pitch black were it not been for the faint glow of the light that illuminates the green lichen triangle on a pole that used to be a street sign.

Lunchtime: still only half light. And cold. Paths are lined with thick puddles of leaves, black arthritic nettles, and frantically suckering brambles. The wind hisses through yellow horse chestnut, and telegraph wires strain at their poles. Brown fields are dotted white with gulls and the farm cat swallows a mouse whole in just three gulps.

At the pub in the village where ‘2 Dine for £12.99 on selected main courses and afternoon tea’, the landlord is being important enough in Fair Isle and corduroy. “Hello there!” he enthuses to customers disgorged crease free from mainly Range Rovers.

I watch some squabbling jackdaws while I piss against a tree. Half a dozen of them are fighting over the topmost perch of the church steeple. They circle scrappily for a while until one suddenly tips its wing and attempts a landing. Usually, its move is pre-empted by
the others and the breakaway bird is knocked off course and forced to abort. Occasionally, one succeeds in making the perch only for the rest to rush it en masse and dislodge it after only a few seconds.