Unusual events


This week I have had to search out my old trainers and sports trousers. It is not my new year’s resolution to join a gym and get fitter or lose weight. No, it is that six months after my operation I want to get stronger muscles. So, I got kitted out and went for physiotherapy, looking quite the part I thought, like my younger self in sportswear. I walked into the waiting room full of people who I thought looked worse off than me.

“Would you like my seat?” offered a woman, getting up off her chair.

“Who me?” I asked incredulously. She did not answer but stood relaxed and upright reading her book.

“Thank you,” I muttered taking the seat gratefully. I remember this first happening on the tube when I was a good twenty years younger than I am now. A young man got up immediately I stepped on the train. The image we have of ourselves is not always what others see.

My friend has not been seeing too clearly recently and so she went to the optician. How surprised she was to be told that she needed a new lens for her left eye. She needed an operation, but how long is the waiting list, she wondered. Our hospital has a long waiting list of many months, but she was offered an operation with only a few weeks to wait at a private hospital paid for by the NHS. She could choose. Well, of course, she chose to go to the private clinic, and got her eye lens replaced in no time at all. I do not understand how the NHS is paying for this private care, but my friend was certainly pleased.

I have been watching our bird table this week. Sadly, there are no unusual visitors. We have most of the tit family, robins and blackbirds, all the common small birds. But I was interested to hear from my bird watching nephew that there is a rare bird in Essex. It is the northern thrush, normally found in North America and must have been blown off course in one of our increasingly frequent storms.

A man who is a knowledgeable birder spotted this rarity in his garden. Along came about 200 bird watchers with binoculars and cameras. And as if that wasn’t enough, just over the border in Wales, another rare bird was seen. It is the white-tailed eagle, not usually seen here.

I am keeping a very keen eye out on my bird table now because friends tell me they do not see the humble house sparrow these days. This little brown bird could be the rarity I see.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)


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