Summer Shade

Saturday, 9th July 2005, page 1 of 2

HolliesMore like summer this morning: the fish are biting for the anglers down by the canal ('I'll bring my brown sauce on the way back!' says a passing cyclist), a grandad and his grandson canoe in Indian file past by a willowy bank, a mallard duck, ever alert, leads her flotilla of four 'teenage' ducklings across the canal and, from a dense stand of canes by the pathside, a woman is gathering raspberries:

mallard'They were wet when I tried gathering them the other day but look at them today!'

She's filling a plastic tub with plump coral red fruits-for-free.

We're glad of the shady section of the walk through the leafy cutting on the canal and at my mum's we sit with the front door open, overlooking the holly, box, yew and laurel of the Victorian shrubbery.

Reef at Bay

juvenile woodpecker'What happened to the woodpecker?' I ask a neighbour. He'd come to our door the other weekend with a young great spotted woodpecker (you can tell the young ones because they have a red cap) in his hands. It was looking lost on the ground.

'I put it back under the tree like you suggested and when we looked again it had gone.'

'Was there a pile of feathers and did the cat have a smile on its face?'

'No, we kept the cat in.'

ReefTheir cat is the one that was hanging around by our bird feeder the other day; apparently his name is Reef (his pattern reminds them of coral). I'll know what to shout at him next time. That's 'fear' spelt (incorrectly) backwards.

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES'

T. S. Eliot, The Naming of Cats

. . . and here's some more about cats . . . Next Page

Richard Bell,