I was looking for waxwings yesterday. Went to three places where they’ve been sighted, and had a wander around the holm oaks of Royal Fort, where the occasional squirrel looked up from its acorn as I passed, before continuing its business. It was a quiet day. And there were no waxwings. I wondered if they’d been alarmed by the kerfuffle of last night’s fireworks barrage, and scarpered back to Scandinavia. But Sarah spotted a flock, in one of the places I’d visited but at a different time; so I guess it was just a case of wrong time wrong place. That’s the trouble with going out hoping to see a particular bird. The best sort of birdwatching is accidental, so that everything you do see comes unexpected and all the more welcome for it.
One of many advantages of walking in snow is that, however much it gets into your boots or on your coat, it somehow never really comes home with you. Unlike mud. A remarkable number of my friends experienced boiler failures and frozen pipes in the cold spell, and then burst pipes with the thaw. Delia mentioned that her washing machine is now up and running again, so I wrote this as a distraction from the Serious Poem that I’m making no headway with.
The washing machines of New Years Day
Flush the festive stains away-
The splosh of wine or gravy bowl,
The mud of the post-prandial stroll.
Oh, fresh and fragrant pants and tees,
And trousers’ hardly-ragged knees,
And whites with only hints of grey,
-Condition the fabric of our souls
So that the line ahead is clear
To brighter things, this coming year.