Lord H and I have spent the day wandering about Warsash on the south coast today on the trail of the long-tailed duck. A pesky and elusive beast. So no, we didn't see it, dammit. However, we did see widgeon, a little egret, oystercatchers and a heron amongst other things. We then spent a happy quarter of an hour munching our sandwiches in the car (how very British ...) and enjoying the two slices of birthday cake I'd remembered to bring. Ah, my Wife Points are at an all-time high now, you know. And the cake was pretty damn good too, hurrah.
In the afternoon we had a lovely walk along Southsea (the posh part of Portsmouth) beach and saw a glaucous gull (a life tick!) and two purple sandpipers, so that was immensely satisfying. And means that our Birding Honour is not entirely obliterated by the unaccountable missing duck. Not that I'm competitive at all. As you can tell ...
Anyway, here's this morning's meditation (rather tongue in cheek, if I dare use that phrase in this context):
When I read
of the strange
carried out by other lands
and which the Israelites
are barred from
I begin to see
the lure of a travelling life
Oh, and I've written another poem about one of the pictures I saw at the Wallace Collection last week. It's a response to The Lace Maker by Caspar Netscher which is an astonishingly still painting. I loved it and found it hard to leave. It's small and totally perfect, to my mind.
I've also finished the next University Reading Group book, which is Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper. I loved it - one of her best, I think. A fascinating story of genetic manipulation in order to save a daughter and what happens when the child in question grows up and decides she doesn't want to be her sister's lifesaver any more. There are some excellent twists and turns in the plot, and I found myself being torn this way and that as the tale progressed. I particularly loved Campbell, the lawyer with his mysterious ailment and his wisecracks, and I also loved Jesse, the much-overlooked son. He's great. The only slight issue I had with it was that I thought Picoult used her trick of making the characters come out with sudden bursts of verbal wisdom rather too heavily here. Virtually everyone had a chance at saying something meaningful and deep that turns the opinions of the other characters right round, and really I don't think people are like that. Or at least not in the UK, dahlings (if we have any wisdom here in the mother country, we tend to keep it to ourselves ...). At one point, I was worrying that the lawyer's dog might suddenly get in on the act, but thankfully not - though bizarrely he does turn out to be a dab paw with a briefcase. I also thought the ending was pitch-perfect and changed utterly how you viewed the start. Excellent stuff.
Today's nice things:
2. Birthday cake
Anne's website - has absolutely nothing wise to impart at all, thank the Lord ...