13 February 2020

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!

Swallows mural

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.

Can’t wait!

Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. He is currently working on a book about looking at the world through Darwin’s eyes.Website · Newsletter · Mastodon · Facebook

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