Nature notes

I went out for a long, new walk yesterday — after living here for nearly twelve years there was still a path out of town past the football ground that I had never explored and that I only discovered by looking at an Ordnance Survey map. It led up to an unusually deserted stretch of downland, from which it was possible to see right across the valley to the giant hangar at Duxford. More interesting, though, was a buzzard hunting very high over the stubble, wheeling and almost hovering and a kestrel hunting very low and fast across some grass at about waist height.

By this great view, the path led past a wooden bench in very good condition, rather like the ones you find in parks, dedicated to the memory of someone who loved to sit there. This one, though, was two miles from the nearest road. Someone had taken a lot of care and trouble to place it there. There was a metal plaque on it, greatly weathered. The date was indecipherable, but the words above were “Happy Birthday — –, with love from — –” and I recognised the names — in one case most unusual — of two friends of ours whose divorce should come through any day now.

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