Friday, 21 December 2007

Urban adventures

Running along the Wensum this morning, I was suddenly aware of how busy the place is.

Squirrels running along the ground with that strange half-leap, half-ooze movement, like slinkies. Swans looking unconcerned, bright bills tucked under their wings, one black eye malicious and alert.

A rabbit hiding by the brick wall of the Great Hospital. Blackbirds chasing each other, dark torpedoes over the top of a hedge. A robin perching on a twig, head on one side as he assesses me.

This let's remember is the centre of Norwich. yet there is wilderness everywhere. I came out of the King's Head late one evening - well, the early hours of the next day - and there in the passage outside, among the fag ends, was a fox, staring at me as if I had no right to be there. It was his time. And then he trotted off down Magdalen Road.

I'm not much of a twitcher. I don't have the Observer Book of Birds. I can tell a hawk from a harnser (that's the Norfolk original of the hawk and handsaw joke in Hamlet, which Will Kemp understood but Brummy Will Shakespeare completely failed to get) whichever direction the wind's in, but that's about it. And even so, I'm rather enjoying the avian accompaniment to my daily run.

Mind you, although the anglers on the Wensum tell me that they've taken some good big pike this year, I have to say I've never yet seen one...

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