Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Going down to the woods...

As I sit here in the conservatory I can see Bardolph and Banquo who are two delinquent male blackbirds (I assume they're young). They really should have an ASBO served on them. They've been on at each other for more than a week, circling round the pond, feinting at each other, making sudden attacks and having aerial battles. I suppose they're two horny youths fighting over a girl. I'm assuming neither of them is Benedict, but I suppose it might be him and his son fighting over Beatrice. That doesn't bear thinking of! If Junior wins, that would be incest most foul, wouldn't it? So I prefer to think it's two young bloods. Like Dave and Nick during the election! All's well that ends well, as the bard said, eh?

You're right, Brian, Tuesday 'shower day' and all good things! There was a time when the bluebell season would take us to Badbury Clump on a day off, with Jess, the local hilltop beechwood carpeted with bluebells. But the time came when the modest slope up to it became beyond me. So this week we went to the wheelchair friendly Oxford University arboretum at Nuneham Courtenay. Dogs aren't allowed but we still took Jess as we had other plans for her. She clearly didn't believe us, as we left her whining in the car in the deep shade.

I think the arboretum was part of some grand estate. It was obviously a nice collection of trees before the university took it on. It's not huge, but has a fairly smooth path winding round it, past the rhododendrons and azaleas and, if you catch them right, the bluebells. This year we caught them right, as you can see.

However, bluebells were not all we found in the woods. The big surprise was... a frustrated peacock on the path. Poor chap, in the end we saw five peacocks - and NO peahens. So I think Percival had no one else to display to. He fancied himself as a supermodel. And he certainly had some stuff to strut. At the same time he was very friendly.

Having completed our circuit, it was off to Jess's treat, Neptune Wood, where she could wonder around while we had lunch. While we were there we were joined by a dog walker with loads of beautiful dogs. Jane followed them with Jess, while I sat and enjoyed the sunshine and a concert on Radio 3.
So it was finally back home. I persuaded Jane to stop at the Williams roundabout (by the Williams F1 HQ). I wanted her to take a picture of the most extraordinary row of trees bordering the works. We're now mid-May... I really don't think human beings have improved on nature here.

Tuesday wasn't finished however. In the evening we went to hear Graham Kendrick performing The Acoustic Gospel in Wantage Civic Hall. It was extremely good. He's best known, of course, for hymns such as 'The Servant King', but at heart he's a singer/songwriter. And the Acoustic Gospel is the life of Jesus told in a series of songs. So nice to hear high-quality live music. Another surprisingly good day, ending in gratitude to God who loves us and does all things well.

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