Sunday, 24 April 2011

Caravan Diaries (part lost count)

I drafted a lot of this with some rarely seen technology known as quill and parchment.  The former a give-away from Le Manoir aux Quatr' Saisons (how did that get there??), the latter an excellent recycled pad called 'Save The Rhino'.

The information boards on the M4 said 'TAKE EXTRA CARE WHEN TOWING'.  In the way my mind works, I read that to mean 'Take less care when not towing'.  I know, I can be irritating.

New neighbours at White Park, replacing G and S who decided to give up the caravan having realised, after forty-odd years there, that they own a flat three quarters of a mile away in Saundersfoot . I wander across to say hello at about three o'clock and realise I've already met the new folks, and their greyhound whose name I've forgotten.  I leave at 4.15 three glasses of rose heavier, having been introduced to about twelve extended family members aged from two to not telling.  This caravan site is ruled by four dynasties, with Joseph as the Padrone.
NB Anyone know how to do accents?  Grave, acute etc., not Welsh.

Five little children are playing an unfathomable game involving frisbees (which nobody knows how to throw), shrimping nets, and everyone suddenly sitting down at the same moment, facing east.  Enthralled for an hour.  They reminded me of rabbits.  A sociologist would get a thesis out of it.

Then, a four-year-old, his father, and a border collie played football.  Hey, that border collie was the best header of the ball since [insert your ballheader of choice, since I don't know any].  I suggested to the father that the dog should be playing for Wales.  He said "Nah, not ready yet.  No tactical sense."

At eight o'clock, a bird starts singing for the sunset, up in the overhanging sycamore.  It sounds like a blackbird, but isn't.  Blackbirds have thirty-two different song patterns, all of which I know by heart, and this isn't any of them.  I asked another neighbour if it was a nightingale.  "No, nightingales are unmistakeable," she replied.  Not if you've never heard one, I thought.

9.00 pm.  The colours in the sky as the sun sets behind the woods on the hill up to the West.  Pale azure darkening through to deep cobalt and navy.  And the wine-dark sea below.  Soon there'll be stars, and then the Milky Way's great wheel will start spinning. 

Much like my head by that stage.


  1. Well, I know where there are nightingales...and I can spin.

  2. Really? I hadn't realised you were Peter Mandelson. I've been misled.

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  5. Olé
    Word..Insert Symbols..
    You can also get these amongst others:

  6. Spin as in wool...or indeed whirling dervish mode.
    And I don't understand can you insert symbols if you are in a cooment box or does he paste from Word into comments?

  7. Yes, normally I would type my comments directly into the cooment box as I am now doing but to demonstrate the capability I typed that previous one in Word & pasted it in.
    And the wonders of the world wide web mean that you no longer have to travel to the wild prairies of Berkeley Square to hear a nightingale, you can hear here

  8. Soaring - Nope, definitely not one of them. Much better. Must have been a blackbird after all, perhaps they sound different in Welsh.
    And what's a cooment box? Something to do with sceptic tanks perhaps?
    Rosie - spin me some nice threads.

  9. It's Rosie's fault. She started it. Talking about symbols in a cooment box. Now if it had been cymbals in a cooment box, that would have been perfectly understandable.
    I may have some exciting birdsong news in the near future. Strange twilight sounds from the neighbour's pond. I hopefully have a dusky video.

  10. Rosie and Soaring - apologies. I have realised that you both used the word 'cooments'. I have no way of knowing whether this was coincidental, so can only salute you both for your equal orthographic eptitude.

  11. No not coincidence,I assumed it was indeed the cooment box.
    Orthographic? Is that to do with birds also?
    Coot possibly, once upload finishes in the morning.

  12. As you know I hear only through the right ear. Consequently I have no directional hearing skills. So when standing at the twilit kitchen door this balmy evening and hearing this odd clucking/burping sound, I had not a clue from whence it emanated. It most likely seemed to be from the pond. An unusual bird? Then, as I turned inward to replenish my glass, this soft sound seemed to amplify from the direction of the sauce of the pasta puttanesca burbling away on the nearby hob. Of course this was the source. I hid my embarrassment, of thinking it was an unusual bird, behind my glass.
    The sauce was duly removed from the hob. Imagine my delight/surprise when the unusual bird sound continued, even as the sauce was being added to the pasta (or vice versa, I forget).
    I reverted to the door and yes, the cluck/burp continued and with intensity.
    We thought coot, we thought moorhen. It walks on water, but then it is Easter.
    It can be dimly viewed here
    The tart’s spaghetti was fiery, strong, gutsy and superb.

  13. Well, I wasn't going to leave a cooment but I am laughing so much I am crying over here.
    I think you are confusing the sound of pasta burbling with the extraordinary coommon coomerant bird...but that's sort of a fishy story.
    What kind of pasta sauce?

  14. Now that I have seen the video I suggest it is a bebbejeezus coomerant.

  15. Tis possible, the sound is fairly similar & RSPB say they are increasingly visiting lakes, whereas I tend to think of them as exclusively sea birds. But then I suppose seagulls were once also.
    But in case it's a bebbejeezus coomerant I'll be keeping a close eye on the pond for all sorts of inexplicable activity.
    As for the sauce, it's here.

  16. It's not a nightingale. Nor a dove - they go 'coo'.