What a day. A day of days.
It was odd to watch the cortege’s progress and ask ‘How many times have I strolled past the entrance to Horse Guards, passed, unthinking, under Admiralty Arch or sped blindly past Apsley House?’ I was reminded too of the day that I encountered Sir Keith Joseph on Whitehall, in the days when a Minister of the Crown could walk the streets of the Capital with just an aide for company.
Down here in the West, most days now we hear the honk of the geese as they return, in their giant vees, to winter on the meadows at Slimbridge, Sharpness and Berkeley. The season turns softly from summer to autumn. The fields are stubble and grass, waiting for the plough, the pasture green again after the summer’s dry. The cattle take our apples with their sandpaper tongues and the bull calf, not two months old, kicks and jumps after his mother. New life.
A couple of evenings ago I watched jackdaws sallying from the yellowing chestnuts to mob a buzzard, a low, raking sun making their wings flare and crackle against a scowling cloud, sparks as from a fire. I plundered the Monarch’s Way hedgerow for blackberries, damson and elder as the the raven croaked in the firs.
The season turns as the fieldfares and redwings arrive. Winter is on its way but there will be a spring soon enough. The swifts and swallows and martins are gone but they will return.