A Year in Norfolk
It is exactly a year since we agreed to buy our new home in Norfolk, leaving Hertfordshire after eighteen years and some, and uprooting ourselves to the wilds of East Anglia, where locals say we are cut off on three sides by the sea and on the fourth by British Rail.
Regrets? I will always have some, though I know they are futile. Every day is a point of no return, and there are three choices: live in the past, in the infinitely expanded present, or in dreams of the future.
Watch the oyster catcher. He does what he does, and that is it. Muddy beak, bloodshot eyes and scraggy pink feet. He is what he is.
Or watch, and hear, the straggling skeins of Pink-footed geese as they fly out of gunshot to and from their roosts on the Wash and its mudflats. I love their plaintiff honkings as they encourage each other, flying over my house, east in the morning and west in the evening, sometimes in gusty winds, and sometimes in thick dark cloud. It is a winter treat that gladdens my heart when much else is glum.
To the best of my remembrance I first came here with a couple of friends around fifty years ago, but since then have returned time and time again, highlights including being a residential volunteer for the RSPB at Titchwell Marsh and Snettisham on two occasions. It was at Snettisham that I saw my first tangle of Knots, crowding the sky at dusk as the tide drives them off the Wash and to roost in the lagoons:
And it is here that you can now see breeding Avocet, which became the symbol of the RSPB in recognition of the success of conservation initiatives after its return, in 1947, after 100 years of exile from these islands: