Sunday, 11 May 2008

crows to the rooky wood

I did my early morning look out of the front room window, and saw that the wood pigeon wasn't there. She'd been sitting on her eggs all week. "Odd," I thought.

This was on the pavement when I went out for my morning bike ride. Magpies, probably.

I did like the woodpigeons in the tree at the front, even if they pooed on my car roof sometimes.

As opposed to the town pigeons which are besieging the flat. I opened the skylight yesterday, because it was insufferably hot, and I had to keep shooing them out. I guess they're looking for somewhere to nest. Blighters.

Out and about, I tracked a few warblers and gazed over the gorge. An elderly man saw my camera and asked what I was doing. "Taking pictures of birds," I said. "It's a lovely morning to be out and about."

"It's a good morning to be doing things," he replied. Was that a hint of suggestion there? I half-smiled and rode on. Later he passed me in a car, going the other way, and slowed right down. I nodded and continued. Blimey. The Downs are a bit dodgy at night... OK, make that "several days into dodgy country" at night. A shame that early mornings have their hassles too.

The Downs cafe had been vandalised, and there was debris of late night shenanigans scattered widely.

As I was taking this photo of the Seven Sisters, a bloke with a dog (not this bloke with a dog) came by and said, "It's all very well taking photos of that; did you know it's an offence to ride your bike on the Downs?"

I assured him that I did know.

Heck, I'm just a hooligan, me.


  1. I wish I could remember what the program was, or the other examples given, but I heard about a gentleman who wrote a long essay about the zoological inaccuracies contained in Shakespeare's works. He was rather miffed at it all, and primly pointed out that 'crows to the rooky wood' could not be correct because 'the species do not associate'.

    I assume that's what was going through your mind on the Downs.

  2. My vision of that crow is as an intruder into the rooks' space, intent on mischief; the 'night's dark agent'. I should have thought that Shakespeare would have known his rooks from his crows, wouldn't you? -as for the critic, he's like the bloke who told me off; in a sense he was correct, but he was also missing the point.

    I'd like to see Delia Smith's critique on the three witches' soup, though...

  3. You blame the magpies... whilst I was in Cornwall on the campsite Jim and I to ourselves I saw a crow storm a magpies nest and succeed in getting away with at least one egg... the second time it left in the opposite direction so I didn't see if it had an egg with it.

    And I've just looked up the byelaws:

    No person shall, without reasonable excuse, ride or drive a cycle, motor cycle, motor vehicle or any other mechanically propelled vehicle on the Downs, or bring or cause to be brought onto the Downs a
    motor cycle, motor vehicle, trailer or any other propelled vehicle (other than a cycle), except on any part of the Downs where there is a right of way for that class of vehicle.

    So all you need is a reasonable excuse. And isn't that a great name for a bicycle!

  4. I'm afraid my local magpies appear to be the bullies who push the poor little sparrows out of the way;
    I had to rescue a cat we had once from a gang of magpies - though she had caught one the week before.

    Perhaps the bloke with the dog should have had a word with the (other) hooligans too.

  5. I'm always half way home before the appropriate response comes to mind. L'esprit d'escalier?

    As in "Erm, I'm sorry, without your uniform on I didn't realise you're a policeman/park warden/interfering git"*

    * delete as applicable

  6. The biter bit, Caroline. Gosh, no honour among thieves... thank you for the bylaws. I do feel I have 'reasonable excuse', one of which is the ability to escape from unsuitable men on the Downs. But I wasn't going to engage with him. And I suppose most people have 'reasonable excuse' for things they do, which creates grey areas; I (and more so Katie) ride bikes on pavements sometimes, though only when it's the safer option and it's not being a nuisance, and making sure I defer to pedestrians. I still get righteously annoyed by the people who cycle inconsiderately or dangerously on pavements.

    I wonder if the magpies knew that the cat had 'had' one of them the week before, Anji? It sounds as though they may have come round en masse to 'have a word'.

    I think I represented an easier target for his indignation than a gang of drunken hooligans. Funny, that.

    Esprit d'escalier, Jo? _I could fill a book with mine, too.

  7. I think its far more reasonable to cycle considerately anywhere that walkers go than to battle it out amongst the cars... I used to cycle more in London as the "traffic" was all entirely stationary or is that stationery (I never can tell)... anyway you know what I mean it was all paper-clipped together...

  8. Interesting to know.