Redwings

By noon the light was in retreat

the nagging wind swung east, north-east

its oscillations conjured more ice from air

to add to morning’s thick frost still laid

below hedges trinketed with hips and haws

that baited flocks of redwings

whose fluted chirps and piped notes

added winter music to this rime

and brought vibrancy

to Cut Throat Lane.

~

n.b. Under the heading of ‘Weird Norfolk’ the local newspaper recounts the tales of Cut Throat Lane, Yaxham.

~

CLP 31/01/2021

On Playing (xi)

Why is it that teams

comprise eleven players?

Perfect for cricket.

~

n.b. I had a look on-line and the answers are pretty dumb given the fact that it was a rural game codified in 1744 and the story that Edward VIII had only eleven courtiers is a complete red herring. Cricket teams of eleven were in place long before that short-reigning monarch abdicated in 1936, never to return to live in England.

We know that football followed cricket’s lead when it came to team size, as it was promoted as the winter game for cricket players.

Famous examples of football clubs formed by cricketers include Aston Villa FC (formed in 1874) and AC Milan (1899).

The question of why eleven players were decided on for cricket remains unanswered.

~

CLP 25/01/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 17) In Sunshine

My apartment faces south, but is overshadowed by the flats built over the atrium at the front and on its east side. This means no morning light reaches me directly and I have to pull the curtain across to assess the weather.

Today the sunlight was blasting down King Street. I just had to leap out of bed and get outside. There were no takers for a walk, so I stretched my legs as best I could with a pinched sciatic nerve headed towards the woods and Whitlingham Broad.

The small birds were in heaven. Blue sky, fresh air and sun. Their songs filled the air. There was lots of activity in the top branches and hedgerows, particularly the robins.

At the junction at the top of the street I noticed a cedar tree had two cables holding its two huge branches in slings. The tree leans menacingly over the junction as both branches are on the same side. It has a perfectly good crown, which seems healthy, so why maintain these two spars that pull it out of line?

Nature isn’t always even-handed I appreciate, but in this instance gravity and a good sou’westerly could do for this beauty and anything it fell on would be crushed. Better to take the strain off it, surely?

I moved on towards Trowse where frost was still obvious where flooding persisted. Mole hills were surrounded by water. Were they safe down there?

I then moved on up through the woodland, stretching my stride out against the pinched nerve on the incline. The trees cast dark streaks of shadows dramatically emphasising their leafless structures. There are few things more beautiful than deciduous trees backlit by winter sun.

The constant swoosh of the nearby dual carriageway creates tension in the air that detracts from the vibrancy of the birdsong, so I move away and down to the broad briskly.

A gull is wandering around the paddock by the café that still sells takeaway drinks. As I sip at my cardboard beaker of tea, I watch the gull peck at a fresh molehill. It then stands on the top the little earth pile, tilting its head to the right to look at the grass. It steps down, wanders around a bit more pecking here and there before realising that there is a commotion by the water’s edge and free food is being thrown around by a grandma.

The woman is attracting lots of birds, entertaining her grandchild who is watching while holding her mother’s hand a few feet away, when the swans begin to get assertive. The bag is quickly emptied and all three humans scoot off to leave swans, ducks, geese and circling gulls to fight it out. In all the fuss are sparrows bobbing about nipping in here and there, as sparrows are happily do when crumbs are flying about.

I circumnavigate the broad and head home. A good walk during the best of the day, before the pathways get too busy.

Get up, get out, get home. Mission accomplished.

~

CLP 22/01/2021