Seagull in my teacup


My case is packed, ready for a few days away. Of course, I have not been able to go. New lockdown rules caught up with me.

I wanted to go to the coast, but it was not to be. I have decided to leave my packing, if the case is there, in the corner, I feel that the holiday is imminent.

On the coast the gulls will be shouting over the roof tops. Their calls will be echoing the sea-side excitement. I will miss them.

There is still a ray of hope, though. Did you know that you can see a seagull in your teacup? Or in your mug or pan, come to that. I remember my physics lecturer telling me about it many years ago. I reflect on what he said every time I stare into my mug or into a pan to stir a sauce. Look for it at your next coffee break.

It is to do with the reflection of light rays, from a light source, hitting the curved sides of a container. They are ‘bounced’ off at different angles and create two curved bright ‘wings’ of light. Leonardo noticed it and drew a careful diagram to explain what is happening. Also, those of you who have done ‘curve stitching’ will know that you stitch straight lines but you end up with an arc – we need diversions in this cold November weather!

We have had our first frost and it seems that the animals and plants must now go into lockdown like us. But, unlike us, they are used to it.

The deciduous trees must block off their leaf stems for the winter. Without support the leaves die and change colour. This year there has been a splendid display – especially of bright yellow. The leaves have fluttered to the ground like feathers from some exotic bird.

But the birds who need warmer weather have gone and the ones from even colder countries are here for the duration. Forced to live in a strange land until conditions improve.

I know the feeling, after 8 months in isolation, I had to go to the opticians this week. There were the people who I knew so well at the beginning of the year. But now they were behind masks, shields and plastic barriers. I felt like a stranger in another land. It was hard to connect with the matter in hand.

I must have some new glasses. But how do you see what suits you when you are wearing a mask? In the end the fashionable man in charge chose for me. He is an up-to-date guy – just as I will be when my designer, big round glasses arrive – all the better to see the bright arcs of the seagull’s wings in my teacup.

(Taken from my column 'With Vicky Turrell' in the Shropshire Star)

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