Sunday, 21 March 2010
Bright sunshine this morning so an impulse to drive out to the sea, no clear idea where, but somewhere via Holt. I drive, C navigates and decides. We end up in Blakeney, parked at the bottom of the street just opposite Blakeney Salt Marshes. There is a long circular walk there along a ridge that finishes up in Cley, from where the road completes the circle back to Blakeney. From Blakeney to Cley along the ridge is about an hour, or more if you keep stopping as we do, listening to birdcalls, focusing the binoculars here and there. There are Redshanks and Oystercatchers, Brent Geese, Skylarks, Black Terns, no end of gulls and ducks. The wind is light. An old wrecked boat here and there. One Redshank on the opposite bank is busily chucking stones aside with a considerable clatter. It looks utterly preoccupied. The sky greys for a while then opens out again. The tussocks in the marsh look soft and inviting: pools and rivulets. Swans, cygnets. The air is delicious: my hand still smells of it. We lunch at The George in Cley and walk back.
Most of my life is spent at a desk, not walking and certainly not doing walks like this, but after the long winter of snow and rain there is something marvellously liberating about just getting up and going. My bird recognition is residual, often a matter of guesswork. I am urban man not nature boy by birth, but the years I have spent outside cities have mounted up. If I could take time out I would be happy to be instructed in trees, in wild flowers, in birdcalls, in practically anything. I love learning and listening and there are so many fascinating lectures at the university I would attend if I could.
Old age might be something to look forward to if one could keep learning and working.