After a week of truly dreadful weather, the forecast for this afternoon was for a temporary absence of rain, so Jen and I decided to walk down into Hebden Bridge for a pub lunch and a crossword. Little did I expect to encounter a flight of swallows this early in the year, but someone near the infants’ school had added a delightful mural to the outside of their house. Very Hebden Bridge!
The dehumidifiers were humming with a vengeance in the recently flooded bookshop. Thanks to previous, very sensible flood-prevention measures (installing barriers and a waterproof stone floor), and thanks also to an awful lot of hard graft, the proprietors and their helpers had managed to re-open the shop just days after the latest disaster. I was determined to buy a book, and came away with a copy of local author Horatio Clare’s A Single Swallow, in which he follows the northern migration route of swallows from South Africa back to his native South Wales.
Two mid-February swallow encounters in the space of 20 minutes. If I were into such nonsense, I might read something into them. But I will at least take them as timely reminders that our swallows will be heading back up through Africa right now, to return to Hebden Bridge in a couple of months.
“…wonderfully droll, witty and entertaining… At their best Carter’s moorland walks and his meandering intellectual talk are part of a single, deeply coherent enterprise: a restless inquiry into the meaning of place and the nature of self.”
—Mark Cocker, author and naturalist
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