It’s a Brambling winter; a stranded kitten; some “beautiful rascals”; geese and an “iffy” bridge; a plummeting Spoonbill; the Wasp Spider; tranquility of The Ridge garden and past hopes for the future are recalled.
On January 14th 1950, Barry birded in the Hythe area, seeing many typical birds of the range of habitats there but his visit was primarily in order to witness a movement of Pied Wagtails going to roost, first noted several weeks earlier. Gran describes it:
The Wagtail movement commenced again at 4.27 [in the afternoon], with four birds, and in various sized parties, some of as many as one hundred and twenty birds. About 700 in all must have passed. The main, Southerly movement was in the direction of Calshot. Barry left the area at 4.50 to catch the boat for home.
These birds, rather like Starlings, are known to form sizeable winter roosts, usually in locally warm places, such as in town centres and on the roofs and eves of less-well insulated buildings. Nevertheless, I think it would be hard to find a roost of this size nowadays.
I have been frustrated throughout the journal by Gran’s lack of political comment about the times in which she lived, but it seems that she had no interest in such things. Even the views of others do not elicit any political statements from Gran. On January 24th she writes:
The afternoon was brilliantly fine and sunny but very cold. I worked in the greenhouse, cutting down old tomato plants and cleaning pots for seed sowing. Unfortunately I was not alone and was treated to the political views of the old man who also works at the Park Road garden. Not my strong subject at the best of times!