Amble is located at the mouth of the River Coquet, which does not so much pour as trickle into the North Sea.
This evening, the river's water was running gently over the weir, and out of the estuary, in response to the low tide outside. It was worth sitting to watch for a quarter-hour while Cailean glared at me (there are bunnies to hunt down near the woods, muddy water doesn't do much for him) and tugged, from time to time, on the leash.
On the other side of the Coquet there were many dozens of swans. They are mute swans, but that is moot, for they do make a fair bit of noise. They are kept company by many ducks, gulls and a few heron. Herons haven't much to say.
A mama duck, exact type unknown to me, I am no twitcher (except when I'm nervously awaiting something, and that's quite different), and her three ducklings walked along the muck in front of us. The ducklings whistled, their mother quacked, but, it seemed to me, they were each and all big enough to be pressed into a dinner appointment. I wondered if Jamie Oliver has a recipe. The estuary all the way up to Warkworth Castle (in the photograph) is actually a bird sanctuary, and, quietly flowing water this evening or not, chances are my duck-hunting would be noticed and frowned upon. I'm defrosting some tortellini I bought on special instead. If I have my beverage in a beaker, perhaps it will seem just a little like duck.
Then I saw the crocodile, slowly floating down from the weir (from left to right in the picture). About four feet from its snout down its back ... not-so-clearly visible. The light was going, but it might be a crocodile. I listened for a Tick-Tock! Tick-Tock! Silence. It was not to be an awfully big adventure.
Perhaps Nessie, down from that Loch in Scotland? Summer holidays? But how could she have got past all the American and Japanese tourists around Loch Ness? No, not the Monster.
A dead dog, then. The dead dog in Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat is a favourite moment in my reading history. But, in the movie, which I watched only recently, it seems to me that the dog was floating legs-up. Not a dog, no legs to be seen, and too long besides.
The shadow on the water was passing in front of me now, heading straight towards a sailboat. A sudden dull thump and the log, for it was just a log, lodged between the anchor chain and the bow of the boat. I watched the log struggle for freedom, but it was quite stuck. When the tide turns and the water flows from the sea to the weir, I imagine the log might come unhitched.
The sailboat has an odd name, it is called Sometime.
I walked Cailean home and logged on to the Internet. Sometime may or may not remain logged-on.
My Long-Lost LJ
7 months ago