Pesky Blue Tits; storm-blown seabirds; sore fingers; post delivered on Christmas Day; a strange use for a fungus; Gran sets foot in a Department Store, and what will the second half of the century bring?
October 28th 1949:
I have always had a particular fondness for Bluetits [sic] and have smiled indulgently when they have picked the tops off milk bottles and drunk the cream, but the sight that met my eyes when I entered my bedroom…made me wonder if perhaps they were not such lovable little birds after all! I had noticed five of them on the ground beneath my window when I first came into the house but little did I know what mischief had been going on in my absence. The bedroom window was open about two inches. On the table in the middle of the room stands a very precious picture of wild flowers which Adrian painted. It has glass on both sides, with passe-partout over the top and down the sides until the frame is reached. The tit or tits had pecked this and strewn the paper in little bits all over the table and floor. It was almost completely stripped!
The dust jackets of two of Gran’s books, “Jefferies’ England” and “Apple Acre” by Adrian Bell had also been pecked and torn, and she writes that the desk and table and, “…irreverently, my Bible on a stool by my bed, all bore evidence of the intruders’ presence [droppings, I imagine], but he, himself, was nowhere to be seen”. A newspaper cutting between the pages of the journal, shows that Gran had sent details of the event to the local paper.
Barry, birding with his friend, John Crook, in the King’s Somborne, Timsbury and Romsey areas, finds what must be the rarest bird to date on his Hampshire list on the 30th. Gran enjoys his experience by proxy, writing a detailed description of the bird’s plumage, its calls and of the circumstances of its finding:
Swimming in a flooded field where the Romsey Road crosses the Test was a Grey Phalarope, which caused Barry great excitement, it being a new bird for his Hampshire list. The bird was actually swimming on the flooded areas and only once did they see it walk. The bird was tame, allowing Barry and his friend to approach to within a few yards.