a flock of Canada geese grazing on the Wyke,
a marshy field between the canal and a bend of the River Calder, but it's
when I get to a small farm at Dudfleet, a farm where
the barns and sheds are made from a fascinating variety of recycled materials,
that I really start seeing birds.
or twelve pied wagtails are feeding in the pasture, one
of them chasing another, flitting up and about, their tails fanning in
flashes of black and white. A great tit sings its see-saw
song from a small ash tree. Three chunky black ponies graze nearby. They're
so shaggy and rugged that they look as if they're left over from the last
As I walk up Dudfleet Lane into Horbury I remember the days when, as
a student, I delivered the Christmas post around here as my holiday job.
There was one cold, damp, dull afternoon when, as I tramped past one of
these houses with my postbag, I glimpsed a Marx Brothers
film on the television in the front room. I promised myself that some
day I would be the one who would be indoors enjoying the movie and warmth.
But you know how it is: in the last 30 years I've never seemed to have
had the time to just sit by the television during the afternoon and my
chance to catch up with the Marx Brothers has invariably been limited
to late night screenings.
Ee i ee i o!
of the scenes in the version of Alice in Wonderland that we're
working on at Horbury Pageant Players is Old MacDonald's
farm (well, this is our producer Wendy Wilby's version
of the story). The ramshackle outbuildings of the farm at Dudfleet don't
seem right for Old MacDonald. I think of something more like a mid-west
American farm, like something out of Gary Larsen. I feel there should
be a weather-boarded barn, a water tower and - having deleted a telegraph
pole which I didn't think quite belonged - a windmill.
Richard Bell, email@example.com