Have you experienced bad drivers who cut you up, overtake at dangerous places, or just sit on your tail before turning their headlights up full before they overtake? And so on? I was driving to work last week on the first day of the thaw, still slightly apprehensive on roads that were turning from snow and ice to slush. I was leaving Penshurst at 30 mph (the limit in built-up areas as we all know, hopefully, and put there for a very good reason), when an electric blue mini, impatient at my speed, overtook literally just before a bend in the road. Incredibly dangerous, and it narrowly missed an oncoming car whose driver must have had a terrible fright. The mini then drove off at high speed towards Tonbridge. Not much any of us can do about bad driving, but I just hope that the driver of GJ55 EUM might one day, sooner rather than later, come to realise how near manslaughter that kind of driving could potentially be. The roads are not a computer game, and real flesh is soft and incredibly vulnerable to real cars!
When walking at Bough Beech, I sometimes bump into John P, who is a keen wildlife photographer in his spare time. I first met him when he kindly gave me some information on a relative for my Southborough War Memorial book. He took a fantastic photo of a stoat recently, and today he showed me two pictures he shot yesterday of a bittern at another reserve. Apparently, bitterns are really rare sightings for any birdwatcher, firstly since there are only 150 known breeding pairs in the UK, and secondly as they have very good camouflage – when they stand and throw their heads back in reed-beds they are incredibly hard to see. John was really thrilled to have had the opportunity to see this bird.
Just before the winter weather started, some opportunist thief or thieves stole all of the bird-feeders and seed from the bins in the nature-reserve. John heard about this and got online to members of the birdwatching forum he belongs to. They sent the hat round, and their generous donations were enough to buy a new load for the birds.
It’s been very beautiful today, with the small lake at Bough Beech frozen over like white icing on a pond-cake. When I got home a late Christmas card had arrived from my friend Ying in China, and it had two beautiful bird stamps on – scanned in here for your delight, dear reader!
Lifelong bookworm, love writing too. Have been a theatrical agent and reflexologist among other things, attitude to life summed up by Walt Whitman's MIRACLES.