21 February 2020

An hour to kill in Hebden Bridge while a new tyre is fitted on my car. Bulging skips, steamed-up shop windows, brave thank you notices, and council staff with power-washers bear witness to the recent floods. The floods are also probably responsible for my flat tyre, caused by a large nail picked up somewhere in town yesterday. I pop into the book shop to order Stephen Rutt’s latest book, Wintering: a season with geese. In the process, I pick up an unexpected order for more copies of On the Moor.

Rochdale Canal

The rain is dancing off the canal down by the aqueduct. Through the branches of the trees at the side of the park, I spot two ducks coming in to land on the river. Something about their jizz seems unusual, so I go over to investigate. A pair of goosanders, a male and a female, swimming into the fast current. Along with cormorants, goosanders are the birds whose relationship with dinosaurs seems most incontestable. Not that anyone these days seriously contests that all birds are descended from dinosaurs—or, more accurately, that all birds are dinosaurs.

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