Sunday, June 11, 2006

The stone balustrade on the bridge separating the Serpentine of Hyde Park from the Long Water of Kensington Gardens is low. Sighs warn: NO JUMPING. SHALLOW WATER.

Reassuring that some daft civil servant hasn't slapped a health and safety order on the work; whack some monstrous railings on the top to stop the fools falling in.

A tanned twitcher, with binoculars, is walking ahead of us. I think my eyes are deceiving me: a great tit followed by a jay flit across is outstretched hand for food. The act lasts a seconds. Colin confirms what I think I've seen.

Further round we watch more closely. I cannot make out the food. I ask. In a frightfully posh accent (is he a landed millionaire?) he answers and explains: “Double Gloucester. They like cheese. Ideal as it is low in salt and orange. The birds can see it clearly”. I thought birds were generally timid, nervy. “The birds here are not shy. They are used to people. It takes very little time for them to become used to one”.

A robin eyes Colin and I expectantly; puppy-dog eyes. We will return. With Double Gloucester.

J.M. Barrie had Peter Pan's statue erected on site overnight. He wanted children to believe it had appeared by magic. I love it. The gate is open. I touch it; feel it. Marvel at the smoothness, the workmanship.

“It must be worth a fortune”. An unfortunately mercantile comment in a place of dreams and never growing old.

1 comment:

coolbuddha said...

The twitcher sounds a real character. I have heard of some birds being so unfazed that they will take food from a hand, but never a great tit or jay. The double gloucester is a lovely and surprising touch.