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Arnside and beyond

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Tuesday 24 May 2011: The return

Assumptions are dangerous things. On the 15th May, I reported the demise of what we assumed was the Boss, the hen blackbird who has been in our garden since the early winter. We also made the assumption that she had fallen victim to Bob the Cat while we were away over the weekend. The crime scene had scattered body parts, but not enough for a formal identification.

Well, today here was proof that at least the first of those assumptions was wrong. I was in the garden before work continuing the quest for the perfect shot of a bumblebee in flight, when this hen blackbird appeared. She was large and very Boss-like. Just like the Boss, she was also extremely confiding, coming within three feet of me. I've carefully compared this photo, and in particular, the little white hairs below the eye, with photos of the Boss - it's the same bird! Maybe she's not been in the garden much because she's been sat on her nest across the lane. But it is her.

The second assumption is also open to question. When I was watching her, Bob appeared and while he showed an interest, he made no attempt to go for her - exactly as he has been all year. Then this evening, there was a commotion in another part of the garden where we know another pair of blackbirds is nesting. There was another cat stalking the birds and trying to reach the nest, they were extremely vocal and upset. So maybe Bob wasn't the culprit responsible for the demise of the unknown blackbird?

That was the excitement for the day. I had another day of meetings in Crewe. I overheard this conversation between two strangers sat next to each other on the train. He was an elderly gentleman, she was a lady with a strong european accent and good english. She asked him where he was going: "Chester", she said "I went to Chester for my friend's wedding"; "Reading?", "No, wedding", "That's near London isn't it", "You need hearing aids", "Don't talk to me about hearing aids".....

Today was our anniversary, 14 years of marriage. We've been out for a meal in the Wheatsheaf in Beetham. No hearing aids needed on either side - yet.

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