Friday, 27 February 2009


I've been doing a bit of building work round at Marta's. Mixing cement and sticking it in holes, that sort of thing. So I've been in my work clothes, tatty old combat trousers and clumpy boots, spattered with concrete. Which was a good opportunity to check how confident I feel about my presentation. And the answer is... still twitchy, still hankering after signifiers.

Earlier in the week I was repairing something in the toilet in my neighbours' flat; I've been doing odd fixing jobs for them for years now, because it's nice to be useful. Anyway, I got he'd while doing it.... she realised what she was doing, and quietly modified her pronouns in mid-flow. Neither of us said anything.

In part I think it's as much about what I'm doing as how I look. Some folk, like my neighbours, I think identify that sort of work as Man Stuff. Which is a shame, but not the end of the world.

O well, just keep on doing.

Anyway, there I was in Marta's garden, mixing up some mortar, when I heard a funny sound. The sort of sound I hadn't heard before. I paused and listened.

It was the croaking of frogs in the pond. There were loads of them in there, doing frog sex.

I'd been thinking of listing the signs of spring that I've encountered so far this year. But they've started to come thick and fast. Let's see....

Loads of crocuses, like these in a square in Bridgewater

A redstart, which I saw on the side of the Parrett estuary. Very colourful. Unfortunately, it features as a Very Small Bird on the photo I took of it, so it doesn't feature here.

The mistle thrush that was singing a solitary song one chilly morning last week, reminding me yet again of those Houseman lines,

So braver notes the storm-cock sings
To start the rusted wheel of things,
And brutes in field and brutes in pen
Leap that the world goes round again.
...and the other birds that are starting to kick in this week; the song thrushes and blackbirds, and very noisy great tits. And the spring plumages are on display; birds seem much more vivid at this time of the year. Perhaps they grow bright new feathers for the occasion, like putting on your best clothes before going on a date.