Observational Skills

How would you describe the sound of wind blowing through a field of oats? I pondered this as I was out walking recently with an elderly dog. Rambling at a gentle pace and pausing to sniff all and everything, (the dog, not me) I had the chance to hear the breeze gently whooshing through such a field and wondered how you would describe that sound to someone who couldn’t hear. The best I could come up with was comparing it to the feel of loose sand against paper. Imagine rubbing your palm slowly over a piece of paper covered in fine sand – that’s how I imagined the wind sounded as it brushed through the oats. As we walked on, the dog, whom we shall call Lily, took great interest in something on the ground. Fox-related activity I thought, but she persisted enough for me to have a look too. And there, in a field of ripening oats in Somerset, was a fish. Not your battered-fish-and-chip-shop type fish, but a raw plaice. It looked a bit mangy, and had certainly been dead a while. Since no fishermen or trawlers were in the area, I could only conclude it had been dropped by a bird. Or maybe stolen by an optimistic cat from someone’s kitchen. (I once had a cat that whole stole an entire frozen chicken from someone’s kitchen and nearly destroyed the cat flap trying to bring it home – but that’s a blog for another day.) But either way, if I were to put a fish in a field of oats into a story it would seem ridiculous. So I ambled on, Lily sniffing and snaffling in the hedgerow as we went. Then I came across my second unexpected find. Was it:

  1. a) a doughnut, uneaten and abandoned
  2. b) a metal supermarket hand basket
  3. c) an antique spinning wheel

Bearing in mind I’d just found a fish, any one of the above is plausible. That and the fact that I was in Somerset.
Earlier in the week I was at the other end of the country, in Essex, taking a long walPierk
L Pieralong a long pier, (English readers will get the reference to ‘a long walk off a short pier’ – but it might be universal!) where I came across an Enthusiasm of Primary School Children. They were having a nearly-the-end-of term day out doing all sorts of extra-curricular activities, but there was one thing that they all did that made me smile and think: all of them knelt down on the pier floor and peered through the planks to the sea below, squealing with delight.
Swirly SeaAnd yet to see the same sea all they had to do was stand up and look around. But I guess there was no thrill in that; it didn’t hold the same magic as seeing it rushing beneath their feet – maybe subconsciously they thought they were flying. But whatever – they were entranced – looking through the floor, they could see the sea! Their delight was so genuine and so without logic that I too was entranced, but by them. Later that same evening I came across a beautiful wild creature living very happily among us humans. I only managed to get the one (not very good) picture of him before he ran off with a mouthful of food after giving an M&S carrier bag a good ransacking. I feel I need to write a story around him.  Or has someone already done that..?Essex Eddie

And it was the supermarket hand basket.

You wanted it to be the spinning wheel, didn’t you…

One thought on “Observational Skills

  1. Thought provoking stuff Jacci – I’m just rushing off to listen to the field of wild grasses opposite me but not sure what reaction I’ll get from passers-by… if incarceration and a strait jacket follow I shall blame you.


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