Birds and Windows

Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire Nature Diary, Saturday, 24th April 2010


FOUR PIGEONS chase each other around over Horbury high street then land on a roof in front of a dormer window to preen and posture. Then I realise that a fifth pigeon isn't actually with them; it's stuck inside the dormer window in the upstairs flat. Hope someone lets it out.

sparrowhawkThis morning as I went to open the garage door a sparrowhawk flew up from next door's driveway, headed straight across the road, up the driveway of the house opposite and into the open garage. There was a soft 'thump' as it collided with the large square window at the other end, turned itself around, flew back out of the garage and on down the road.

I looked in next door's driveway to see if it had dropped a kill when I disturbed it but there was no sign of anything.

liquoricespatulaA spatula?
An offcut of a heavy duty cable?
An ancestral chordate worm from the Burgess Shales?

And these two: Tally sticks from the Yorkshire Coal Mining Museum?
Hardwood pestals used by an apothecary?
The legs of an antique ebony puppet?

The sprinkling of pink sugar-pellets convinces me that they are intended to represent cigarettes in holders and that they're a traditional item in a liquorice 'smoker's outfit'. The lettering on the liquorice spatula is 'Bassets' and I've only just realised that it's the stick that you would use to dip in in kaylie (and I don't think that is how you spell it), a sherbet-like powder. Aha! So the pestal is probably designed for the same purpose and the dusting of sugar-pellets is to indicate to the uninitiated, which would definitely include me, which end you should dip into your kaylie.

I'm drawing a range of liquorice confectionary - not just the familair 'All Sorts' - for my booklet on the Pontefract area. There are still two sweet factories in the town.

Sophie Dahl

This week's celebrity chef: Sophie Dahl.