Crowds at Dibden; good news and bad by post; Hoopoe envy; the Black Prince; a “Goater Gallop”; “Mrs Hilly’s” last day; Rick grows a beard; worry over “dear old Tommy”; wonderful neighbours; sporting behaviour at Wimbledon, and the “Swedish boy Borg”.
On April 13th 1973 Gran needs an eye test and takes the bus into Southampton. She says, with relief:
The eye-test was very satisfactory, with no deterioration in my sight since 1970, and I called in hopefully to Martin’s to see if my binoculars were back yet, and they were! So I am fully equipped again now. My knee was extremely painful and I was glad to get into the ‘bus.
And on the following day:
I took my swollen knee to the Doctor this morning and he said it was synovitis which was causing trouble. I am to bandage it firmly and rest it as much as possible, but, as usual, I can do my household chores except for kneeling! Well, I am going out with Brother for the day tomorrow…
The outing is to Dibden Bay, where she and Norris meet up with a British Naturalists’ Association (although Gran continues to call it the British Empire Naturalists’ Association) group in the afternoon. The first Swallow of the year is noted in Baddesley Road, followed by a singing Blackcap, Crossbills and a drumming Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the Forest. Car parking at Dibden proves difficult, “People with binoculars were everywhere”, Gran complains:
… but they were not birdwatching. The Queen Elizabeth II was sailing from Southampton for a cruise to Israel, and such is the present political situation between Jew and Arab that aeroplanes and helicopters were flying round and watching for anything unusual. But our eyes were for birds, and the disturbance around left us few to see.