Peace and quiet


‘There’s nothing there,’ said a sad man walking by with a massive camera pointing downwards hanging from his neck.

‘But we saw one last night, in the owl light.’ We told him.

We had rushed to the RSPB reserve to see the short-eared owl again. We saw it a few months ago, and now for some reason there is an influx this year from Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia onto our east coast. We stood silently then suddenly he shouted.

‘There it is.’

There was the owl with big, rounded wings swooping overhead. He reached for his camera, but the bird had gone. We waited a little while then trooped back with the other bird watchers, their long-lensed cameras swinging dejectedly.

As we left the reserve on the little road going through the uncut fields, we saw the owl again doing its familiar swoops away from the photographers and evading camera lenses.

We had a very quiet time by the sea, well it would be quiet in cold December. But this was our last visit to family and friends before Christmas. The long golden stretches of sand were deserted. Even the huge café overlooking the cliffs and sea was empty. We sat and had our cheese wraps alone to the sound of ‘Jingle Bells’ tinkling from the speakers.

I heard my phone bell ring as I sat in the café. It was a text (they chase you everywhere).

‘Your package has arrived with us but cannot be delivered because of incomplete address.’ It went on to tell me that to get my package I had to press on a link and fill in my details. It was a scam of course, at least I think it is but there is always that nagging feeling that there is a parcel somewhere that needs to be delivered to me. Like the owl I left it and moved on.

On our way back to Shropshire there were lots of hold-ups on the motorway with the satnav asking us several times if we wanted to do a different route and save twenty minutes. Then came the fog. I could see the bank of misty grey getting ready to envelop us. It was on us like a bird of prey.

“FOG” shouted the overhead gantry lights. Then not too far away we read ‘End’, but the fog had not ended and we drove on over the Pennines in a cotton wool blanket, which was not as warm as it sounds.

Even before our house heated up, I was putting stamps on my late cards. I am still sending them with cheaper second-class stamps, but my Christmas wishes to everyone are first class.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

No one one the beach just before Christmas


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