Saturday, 28 February 2015

island dayze

For 9 years this was the view within five minutes walking distance of my home.

beautiful isn't it?

Apologies if the following makes you want to spit vitriolic spumes of envy and vow never to read my most esteemed blog ever again, i totally understand as that's what i would have felt about me if it hadn't been me living there.......sort of.

I had 9 heavenly years living on the Isle of Lindisfarne in the middle of the North Sea.   the sort of place i dreamed about for decades while living in the concrete jungle of an "up north" city never for a moment thinking it would happen.   a story for another day.

In the evenings the seals would sing.   the first time i heard them it was dark, with the sort of mist that feels wetter than rain and turns a shiver into the ague.   out of the night came the sound of a thousand banshees wailing, ululating, echoing around the island, bouncing off dry stone walls, fading into the fog.   i was TERRIFIED, all my protestations that ghosts don't exist entering the realm of doubt.   later, knowing the benign origin of the song, i would walk down to the sea and sing back to them.   somehow Amazing Grace seemed to be the only apt response to being given such a gift.

According to the RSPB and other such worthy wildlife organisations sparrows  are in major decline.   i know the truth of the matter......THEY ARE ALL ON HOLY ISLAND!!!!   never have i seen such a quantity of sparrow.   they teemed like locusts in the coffee shop gardens, diving head first into people's cake or running kamikaze attacks on the tables. 
every year when it was time to fill in the Big Bird Watch online forms a red warning would flash up telling me "too large a number are you certain this is correct".   

Once the tide came in and all the tourists were gone a profound velvety silence would drape itself over the fields and streets punctured only by the calls of hundreds of thousands of birds.   to fall asleep and wake to that sound was heaven.

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