Friday 23 March 2018

The Hall of the Slain

What's this, you're thinking, has old Tense gone all mythic with the blog? Has several years of soaking up Norse influences from Orcadian culture finally pushed him over the edge. Or is he embarking on a project to pen a dark, Scandinavian murder mystery?

Not so much. The house where I was working today was called Valhalla. It was set in a very rural location, and the only dead thing on site was the satellite dish. It was a morning of steady, though gentle, rain, and a southerly breeze was barely noticeable. All in all, I thought, it could've been worse. I had not required the services of a Valkyrie (and the jury is still out on exactly what those services were) and it wasn't going to be last night's roast pork for tea (again).


As I deployed my ladder, I noticed that at its footing were lots of Coltsfoot springing from the bare, muddy ground, their flowers like tiny yellow explosions of colour. I was very careful where I put my boots. Once up at dish height, my ears finally got a message through to my brain, that the air was full of birdsong. Not your normal common or garden birds (though in much of Orkney, they are common and can be found in yer garden!), but creatures of wild moorland and rough pasture.

Skylarks were singing brightly, ascending in their own inimitable way, as if to celebrate the sheer joy of being alive on such a sunny and warm damp, overcast day. Curlews were bubbling and skirling for all they were worth, Redshanks were performing display flights, and Oystercatchers were piping as if their lives depended upon it. Now that I was concentrating on the sounds, I also detected Common gull, Rook and Snipe in the orchestration and, possibly, the far off cry of a Buzzard.

The rosy glow I felt from being in proximity to such fantastic wildlife was warmth enough to carry me through the task.


Mark said...

I cant imagine Tensey going mythical! Nice about the Curlews, hardly see them these days. Regards, Mark.

Imperfect and Tense said...

The calls of Curlew would seem to be very evocative for anyone who has ever heard them. I remember, as a kid in rural County Durham, though we were miles from the sea or moorland, Curlews would come to breed in local fields in Spring. Now, the species is in freefall, and I feel extremely fortunate to live in a place where they can be heard year round.

Spadger said...

Lovely blog Mr W and the skylarks must have been positively glowing! I was watching them out at Hope Farm on Wednesday.

As for the curlew yes it was once an evocative sound to me from the late 70 to late 80's on occasional visits to a particular Surrey heath you know well and also around Stony Stratford and Yardley Gobion - now all sadly long gone. sigh...... Now I fear losing another happy childhood memory before long - the purring of turtle dove on warm sunny afternoons on Surrey commons and heaths.

Mr Happy!! I do blame you entirely for setting me off on this! You and yer evocative wot nots!! :o)