Tuesday, 23 November 2010


A pair of swans have taken up residence on our local swimming pond. As swans are birds of habit and mate for life, they are probably the same pair that I watched this time last year. The pond, which in the summer was full of local families swimming and laughing, now only has my two swans floating serenely across its surface, breaking the reflections of the trees. But Winter is coming, the first snow has fallen, the pond will soon ice over and they will be gone again. I do not know where and would welcome thoughts on the matter.

I do so adore watching them. They bring back a very early memory from my childhood, of when we lived in the mill flat beside a pond. In the morning I would eat my toast, but leave the crusts, so that my mother and I could feed them to the two swans that lived on the millpond. I would have been aged about two at the time. There is something about my village and South Bohemia more generally that has the effect of triggering old memories, nearly always good ones. When I first came here to look at the house, it was not the house that resonated so strongly with me but the children's den in the trees and the hopscotch squares chalked on the tarmac outside the gate. It was like stepping back fifty years.

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