When Sparrows Walk on Water
Friday, 19th December 2003
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
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I take a break to make a morning cup of coffee I can't help smiling
as I look out of the kitchen window: the frost has given, the surface
of the pond is liquid again and there, standing ankle deep,
in the middle of it with no obvious means of support are three house
They're trying their best to take a bath but that's tricky in the
quarter of an inch of water that is lying on the ice. They can't
work a mere saucer-full into a power-shower of spray. Nor can they
stop bickering; one annoys another and, as it flies off, the irritable
bather pecks in peevish indignation in its general direction.
No wonder Tchaikovsky chose Swan Lake as his subject.
Sparrow Pond doesn't have much to offer in the way of elegant
poignancy. Even when performed on ice.
Frozen in Time
the canal basin a solitary canoeist makes his way across a patch
where a stream inlet has made a chaos of the broken sheet-ice. As
the traffic at the bridge pulses to the sequence of the lights,
obscuring my view with passing vans, I watch him through a lattice
of shadowy ash branches, making careful progress in the fading afternoon
It's like looking back in time. Right here, thousands of years
ago, our ancestors must have paddled their dug-outs along the river
I was writing about my favourite pens recently. Here's one that
I think will become a favourite: an Edding 1800 profipen.
It's a fibre-tipped drawing pen with lighfast pigment ink. I chose
sepia ink, it's also available in black, and the 0.5 nib; there's
This is the first time I've tried it and it's got a great advantage
over my current favourite, the Rotring Art Pen which can be filled
with sepia ink: the pigment ink doesn't run when I add a watercolour
The fibre tip seems capable of making almost as varied a line as
the traditional metal nib of the art pen.
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