Thursday, 25 June 2009

Good Boy!

The picture says it all. The old boy is coming on a treat.

After a recent foray on pigeons hammering the spring rape, I returned home to fetch Diesel to see if he would be keen to help me pick up. And boy, was he.

I left a few obvious birds out for him to find, and he even discovered a pigeon I'd forgotten about deep in some tall rape stems. He shows no concern about picking up these loose-feathered birds, which apparently some dogs do.

I have not exposed him to a shooting situation yet, or even the sound of a shotgun, but he is already working fine with the noise of a starting pistol and I'm delighted with his progress. I hope and believe he is going to make a great shooting companion and I can't wait for that moment when I shoot a bird over him and he retrieves it for the first time. Life affirming stuff.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Kentish coastline

I've mentioned before my penchant for the seaside, and this last week I've been able to indulge it to the full.

A week in Whitstable is to be appreciated at any time of the year, but when the sun shines, the wine flows and the asparagus grows - what more could you ask for?

I really resent not having plentiful and varied fresh seafood readily available where I live. The last few days have been heaven. Oysters each day, a luncheon of tiny slip sole, barely cooked in seafood butter, stiff-fresh mackerel fillets and bundles and bundles of beautiful crunchy asparagus.

No wonder they call Kent the garden of England. Everywhere you go there are hop plantations, fruiterers, pick your own strawberries, raspberries and vegetables of every size. And did I mention the asparagus?

Although some of the seaside towns can be a bit rough around the edges, there are some truly lovely parts of Kent that I had not experienced before.

And one night, as whorls of my cigar smoke eddied in the breeze and I sipped a fruit-laden red wine, I had time to notice things around me again; I find it often it takes a few days of solace to open my eyes to the real things in life once more.

As dusk fell, I watched as the daisies on the lawn of our cottage began their evening ritual, closing their petals up for the night until the rays of the sun would unlock them again in the morning.

Such a ubiquitous plant, visible everywhere and ignored by all. But what an amazing organism just the same. Every bit as special as a rare orchid in its own way and worthy of study and wonder on a ethereal June night.