golden landscape of my heart
silence with birdsong
In October 1987, Michael Fish a now infamous BBC weather presenter, told the UK not to worry, there wouldn’t be a hurricane, but there would be some strong winds further south in France and Spain. In the event, winds of up to 115mph caused £1 billion of damage and 15 lives were lost.
In my city, many trees came down including a number in Heavitree Park. When I was five years old, my daily walk to and from school took me through the park and I remember those huge, majestic trees standing guard over the gentle sloping landscape gardens. Each September I’d collect conkers from under the horse chestnuts and watch the squirrels collecting nuts for their winter larders. You can imagine how upset I was all those years later when I walked Jassy, my golden retriever through the park, a few days after the hurricane that wasn’t going to happen.
If you look closely you can see the stump of one of the old trees, see how big it was?
The park has never been quite the same for me, but I can walk there without tears now. Thankfully, a few of the old trees, including these above, survived that dreadful night.
A couple of years later the council planted a small grove of birch, carefully fenced off to protect them at first. They have now grown to maturity and are a lovely sight. So yesterday I walked Dido and Daisy, the border terriers early in the morning, before the November fog had cleared. They chased the squirrels – futilely of course, and I only had my phone camera but I had to share the young trees with you.
I hope they never have to stand up to a hurricane.
. . . Even if it may seem crazy to most of you!
I don’t have many phobias, heights are fine, even snakes, as long as they aren’t venomous, do not bother me. Spiders, well strangely if they are outdoors in the garden they’re okay, as long as I know where they are and they don’t run towards me, they’re okay. Mice are cute, sharks are scary but I’m not likely to encounter one.
Rats however are a different kettle of . . . well rats really. And they terrify me, always have. I’ve had a recurring dream for decades about rats climbing up the drain into the toilet, I won’t keep you awake with the details.
So, earlier in the year when I walked into a tent at an agricultural show and came face to face with a whole load of them, my heart started beating way too fast. Just as I was beginning to feel sick and turned to get out a smiling girl approached me with a rat in each hand asking would I like to hold one.
‘Uh, no thanks I’m actually feeling rather anxious just being here, I think I’d better go’ did I actually look daft enough to hold a rat???
‘Well’ she said, ‘you’re managing to look at Jeremiah, well done, now isn’t he cute?’
I tried to slow my breathing and talk sense to myself while she muttered something about them being gentle, loving pets who like nothing better than snuggling up on their persons shoulder.
‘Perhaps you would like to stroke him? his fur is so soft.’
She continued to talk to me about Jeremiah and his siblings, breeding, feeding and winning prizes in the show. I started to feel a tiny bit calmer and my inner voice told me that I would never have a better chance to overcome my fear, than right then with such an understanding lady encouraging me.
Suddenly I heard myself say ‘Will it turn its mouth towards me f I stroke its back?’
‘No, it’ll be fine go for it.’
I did it. I may not do it again, I’ll never be a fan and I have no idea why anyone would choose one as a pet, but I’ve felt a big less phobic since that day and a real sense of achievement. Crazy eh?
So here he is!
If you have a picture that shows achievement, most likely more sensible than mine visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/achievement/ to join in.