Power walking, that’s what it seemed like on Saturday. And I took a break, for I had to come back in and empty the washing machine and get it all pegged up on the line. The wireless was on and the voice I recognised. Benedict Allen it was, explorer, author and raconteur, hugely entertaining. I realised it was Excess Baggage, the final edition. And hadn’t John McCarthy put a cracker together, for joining said explorer in discussion with our host were two other voices I recognised, Sara Wheeler and Simon Reeves. All together, blethering, sod the washing and the walking, coffee on. It was a real treat.
I’ve been enjoying Simon Reeves on his little jolly around the Indian Ocean of late. As he said on the radio, for him it’s all about people and places and mingling. He does it well, a personable guide. But it was Sara Wheeler who surprised me, and her fellow guests. Much as she loves to travel, about which she writes brilliantly, her preference is to read of people and places through the eyes and the words of others. Perhaps that’s part of why her writing is just so sublime at times.
Meanwhile, back in the Indian Ocean, Reeves was at pains to show us the destruction and the consequences of the slash & burn destruction of the forests of Madagascar, and the massive scale of the tuna fishing around Mauritius. Appalling, as the need for greed displaces all rationale and reasoning. Pirates next week as he heads for Somalia.
But my TV must see right now is further north, in Scandinavia. Yes it’s subtitle time again, with The Bridge this time. The third and final series of The Killing is being filmed for all us Sara Lund fetishists; and better still there’s more Borgen to come, though it will also end after three. Political intrigue, media manouvres, special advisers and flawed characters. The Danes do it so much better than our contrived efforts down Westminster way.
Anyway power walking it was I telling you about. We didn’t leave the garden and the power all came from a Briggs & Stratton engine; for it was time to get the mower out, first cut of the year. Painful it was, for me that is; the mower at least started at the first pull of the chord. As usual it was more moss shaving than grass cutting, though I was pleased to leave it lying for the wind rather than spend more energy raking and gathering. The starlings have been doing that, huge beakfuls being lifted for nesting purposes, the wagtails too. Overhead the languid flapping of the heron casts a shadow, but no sign yet of the return of the house martins. They were late last year, after the deep and prolonged winter, and I’ve been wondering if their clocks get reset to fit in with the mild time we escaped with this year. On cue an old nest dropped onto the steps, making way for the new; and the rain came, to make mud for the new.
So as we walked the mosses it was soft underfoot, and with far too many sinkings for my liking at this time of year, evidence of mole runs close to the surface. Still I’d rather have the moss and the moles than those damn moths. Now where did I put my spray, and my mask, for moth spray and asthma are not good company, but better than than more eggs and larvae and feeding. Birds’ nests can house them I learn, but perhaps it’s just the rooks in the chimney, not the martins, surely not the martins.