Beccles, blackbird, blackthorn, Bungay, butterfly, Dunwich, free-range pigs, greylags, mallards, Muscovy duck, rood screen, skylark, spring weather, St Peter South Elmham
A windy,cloudy morning on Sunday. R and I decided to go to the early service of Morning Prayer at St. Peter’s church as we were going out for lunch. There were only seven of us there, including Maurice who took the service and played the organ as well. Maurice always gives interesting and thought-provoking sermons and the church is such an attractive one – it has a wonderfully carved rood screen with a rood (cross) and statues on top too. Pleasant talk afterwards with very good coffee.
I think a future post will have to be about all the lovely churches in ‘The Saints’ – the area where I live.
We (R, E and I) took my mother out for lunch at The Dove at Wortwell which is just over the border into Norfolk. An extremely enjoyable meal and everything well cooked and presented. Mum came back home with us for the afternoon and we just sat around and chatted.
Monday was a glorious day; a gentle, almost warm breeze, lots of sunshine and blue sky. Mum had an appointment for a blood test so I took her to her medical centre and waited for her outside in the car. A long wait; even though her appointment was fairly early (10.30) all the GPs and nurses were running 45 minutes late already. Dropped her back home and then drove to Beccles to shop in Tesco. I drove up to the main road at Harleston and then straight to Beccles via Bungay. Just before Bungay at Earsham, there is a free range pig farm and I saw a number of little pink piglets running about. I do like to see free range pigs – they seem to enjoy life, rolling in the mud, socialising with other pigs or going off on their own to rest in their personal ‘bijou residences’ full of straw. The farm close to my house looks after pigs but these are store pigs not free range. One farmer will care for pigs just separated from their mothers for a couple of weeks until they are a certain weight and then they are taken off to another farmer who will fatten them further and then pass them on to someone else. Or, the pigs are kept by the same farmer but moved periodically from one shed to another. Every Monday and Tuesday we have the noise of frightened pigs being loaded into lorries at the farm close by and then driven squealing past us down the lane. Other lorries full of squealing pigs are then driven past to be unloaded at the farm.
I noted that the temperature had risen to 14 degrees centigrade at midday – a spring day at the end of winter. Hung some washing out in the garden when I got back home. While struggling to get the washing line up a butterfly flew past me. I did’nt see it clearly but it was a dark one – a peacock perhaps – and it was flying strongly. By the time I had the line fastened the butterfly had gone.
Rain overnight and a cloudy and showery morning on Tuesday. Caroline, who has retired from being one of our church readers, visited this morning to give me some books and stayed for coffee. She made me laugh very much by recounting an awful accident she and her husband had had at the weekend involving an exploding bottle of home-made liquid manure!
After lunch I took E with me to Bungay to buy Mum’s bird seed. The pet shop there sells very reasonably priced seed – much cheaper than in Halesworth and Beccles. I can afford to buy in bulk (which works out cheaper in the long run) and I order it on-line but Mum on her small pension buys small quantities weekly – well, she pays for it but I go and buy it. We then drove to Halesworth to pick up my medication and went on to Dunwich where E and I walked on the beach. The sun was shining on the coast and the tide was further out than it had been when R and I walked there on Saturday. The wind was stronger and the waves higher than Saturday too. E can’t walk far so we soon turned and made our way back to the car but not before we had both got earache from the cold wind. On the way back we disturbed a bird in the grass and shingle a couple of feet in front of us. By the way it flew and the shape of it’s almost triangular wings I recognised it as a skylark. It only moved a few feet further on and walked about pecking at the ground now and then. I could clearly see it’s crest on the top of it’s head. As we continued walking forward the lark decided to take off and at our head height began to sing! We watched it getting higher and higher singing all the while.
Took Mum for her weekly shop in the supermarket in Diss today. Another lovely day – so many spring flowers in people’s gardens and the blackthorn is starting to come out in sheltered and sunny places. Got home at 2pm, had a late lunch, made a few phone calls then went out to feed the birds. Twenty geese on the field behind the house today including the two who have claimed the island as their nest site. Eggs have begun to be laid on the island. The female lays the eggs in the very early morning, covers them (not very thoroughly because I can see them!) with grass and leaves etc. and then goes off with her mate for the day. Once she has laid enough she will start to sit for about four weeks only leaving them for two very short periods during the day to feed. Her mate stays close by, wandering about disconsolately all the time she is sitting and always seems pleased when it’s her feeding time when he joins her.
The mallards seem to have reached an agreement as we now only have one male with the female in the garden.
Our neighbour who lives further along the edge of the field at the back of the house came to talk to me as I walked round the garden. He owns the muscovy ducks (both female) but one of them has gone missing. The one he still has is sitting on eggs and kept chasing the other one off if it got too close. It has now gone missing and he hopes the fox hasn’t had it. I said I hadn’t see it and he was free to look round our garden for it. They are very tame ducks; they come when called and sit at his feet. The missing one likes spending time with their chickens as well. Our neighbour, his wife and children will be very upset if the duck can’t be found, I think.
I gardened until 5.30 when it got too cold to stay out though it was still wonderfully light. As I gardened I heard a blackbird singing for the first time this year. Tentatively at first and then with more confidence – a clear flute-like song.
A cold, starlit evening though by dawn we are supposed to have wind and rain again. R is away for a couple of nights til Friday.