The Way I See Things


Back on track

R and I got up at 7am today, and by 7.10 the wheels had fallen off the day, with the discovery of a dead muntjac on the top lawn. I'd been planning to zoom off to Wiltshire straight after breakfast, but didn't feel that I could leave R to deal with this alone (I'm self-centred, obviously, but not a complete monster), so we set to work to find someone who could help.

Three hours later, after seemingly endless web searches and numerous phone calls, we'd established beyond reasonable doubt that as far as The Powers That Be were concerned, this was entirely our problem, and we were more than welcome to it. The only offer of help we'd had at this stage came from a neighbour who owns a small mechanical digger, and who said that if we couldn't find any other solution he would bring the machine round and dig a hole for us, so we could bury the poor creature. Given that our land drains into the local brook, and we didn't know what had killed the deer (though for reasons you'd probably prefer me not to detail, my best guess was flystrike), I wasn't sure this was a good or even a legal idea, but it was certainly kind of him to make the offer.

Then, just as we were starting to feel slightly unhinged, a lovely person stepped up and sorted the situation out for us. I can't tell you who they are, because dealing with this fell well outside the normal ambit of their work and they'd prefer it to remain that way, so they've asked us not to reveal their name. But as well as being efficient and proactive, they were sympathetic and kind - and generous, too, firmly declining any kind of payment to cover their costs and inconvenience, and suggesting that rather than paying them we should make a donation to a charity of our choice. Which we've done, gladly and gratefully.

Something like this restores your faith in people. Well - some people, anyway.

What with all of this, and then some necessary coffee-and-cake-and-debrief time, it was early afternoon before I packed the cameras and went off out in search of invertebrates. Luckily I struck gold at the first attempt, finding this Common Clubtail without even leaving the car park at Severn Stoke. It was overcast when I arrived and began looking around, and I spotted her quite easily in the flat light, but two minutes later the sun came out, and one minute after that she left - so it was very much a right time, right place encounter. A half-hour walk along this section of the Severn bank, followed by another along the Avon at Eckington, got me scores of demoiselles and a few other damselflies, but no more dragons. Eckington also had house martins though, whizzing back and forth from their nests under the railway bridge, and reed buntings and sedge warblers in the bank side reed beds. And a cuckoo was calling from over by the village, and the mayflies were doing their pogo dance all around me, and it was all rather fun. Except for one poor mayfly, who met a reed bunting, and won't be pogoing any more...

All in all, it was quite a day.

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