Monday, May 17, 2010

And the voice of the cuckoo was heard across the land *--

or at least here, in Devon.

Robin rousted me out of the house at about eleven o'clock this morning so that he and I could take a walk to Avon Dam. Neither of us felt like walking, but by the time we got back to the car park after our walk, we were both feeling much livelier. While we were strolling beside the stream, a cuckoo cried from a nearby grove of trees. I tried to record the sound with my camera, but as soon as I took the camera out and set it to "video", the cuckoo closed his mouth and only opened it again long enough to stick his tongue out at me. Never mind. I found a site where you can hear the sound. (Click here) I feel much better now. I was afraid I had missed the cuckoo altogether, but this area has had quite a long winter, so perhaps the cuckoo waited until the weather took a turn for the better before he flew in.**

Okay, I confess that I didn't actually see the cuckoo stick his tongue out -- in fact, I didn't see the cuckoo at all. I only heard him. I did see other moorland inhabitants, though -- sheep, mostly, still wearing their winter woolies. And hikers -- a great gaggle of them, all wearing huge backpacks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
My first comment on seeing the entrance to the Avon Dam walk today was that it looked very scruffy. I'm used to seeing it in the full flush of Spring. This time, the rhododendrons weren't in bloom yet -- although I've seen plenty of them in bloom in other places -- and everything seemed to be covered with moss.

Once we were out on the moor, though, things dried out nicely. We took our time, stopping every fifteen minutes for a five-minute break, and at the end of the fourth walk, we arrived at the dam. Some of us (ahem) were feeling a little tired out by then, so we sat for a few minutes, absorbing sunlight, feeling proud of our achievement, getting our breath back.

The walk back, being mostly downhill, was easier. We felt quite cheerful when we got back to the car, and Robin suggested that we go home for lunch, then head to Plymouth, where we would sit on a bench by the harbour to watch ships come and go. That was fine by me, because I knew there would be a cappuccino in it for me. So that is what we did -- except that there wasn't much in the way of ship movement to see. Fortunately, I had my knitting along, so I was entertained, and Robin just loves to be beside the seaside, so he was happy.

Tomorrow, we plan to take the train from Totnes to Penzance and back -- an all-day excursion. If you don't hear from me again, it means I've been taken by pirates.

* Can anybody tell me the origin of this quotation (or misquotation, as the case may be)? I'm at a loss. Google has failed me, or I have failed to google correctly.

**And speaking of flying, the government has declared the BA cabin crew's strike plans to be illegal, so we just might be able to fly home on time after all, volcanoes permitting. Stay tuned.

4 comments:

The Bug said...

I really need to get out & walk more - it really does make you feel better!

I typed "the voice of across the land" in my search engine & kept running across references to "The voice of the turtle is heard in our land" LOL.

Sandra Leigh said...

Turtle? Wouldn't that be funny? I'll follow up on that. Thanks, Bug.

Maribeth said...

Bug, a Turtle and a Cuckoo -- what's going on here? LOL
Maribeth
Giggles and Guns

Dominic Rivron said...

I don't know the origin of the quotation - but the cuckoo is in a bit of a bad way in the UK at the moment. It would be an overstatement to say you were lucky to hear one but, all of a sudden, it's not as commonly heard as it used to be.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/the-sound-of-silence-the-cuckoo-is-vanishing-1650399.html

Enjoying going through your posts about England: I spent most of June writing school reports and filling in forms, not blogging!

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