It seems to be a good year for partridges, I never remember seeing so many. As I've mentioned, we had a nestful in the kitchen garden this year and I've frequently seen the parents - well, we may have more than one pair in the garden - anyway, I saw the male bird again yesterday. I was going to pick Pugsley up from nursery and, just after turning onto the A143, I saw a female partridge with chicks, trying to cross the road. A car was coming the other way and she hesitated in front of me, so I stopped and checked the mirror. A car was about 500 yards away, so I put on my hazard warning lights and got out. She had time to cross if she hurried, but she was anxious, and then I saw several more chicks emerge from the grass. Fortunately, she turned back and they all disappeared into the grass. Ten minutes later, having picked up Pugsley, another hen bird was ambling along the side of the B road.
I still haven't had to cut the lawn this year, as the bantams and rabbits are keeping the grass low. It's a bit weedy and I need to do some cutting back at the edges, and there are hollows where the chickens dust-bathe. 'Patch of unkempt grass' suits it rather better than 'lawn', if I'm honest.
I arrived at school this morning and the music teacher greeted me. "I passed you on the hill", she said. "You looked exhausted." It's true, I can't do hills at all. It's only laziness that stops me getting off and pushing. She brings her children to the village school on a Friday and would give me a lift, but then I'd have to walk home and that is more effort than the bike, especially as then I'd have to carry my shopping. Anyway, as I explained, I'm supposed to take plenty of exercise (I think that cycling a couple of miles is 'plenty') and the only way that it'll happen is by going places on my bike. It's hard to find time for it though, I could have done with the extra quarter of an hour this morning. I certainly wouldn't do anything just for the exercise - finding time to go to the gym or the swimming pool for example, and I'm not the sportiest of people. I don't mind watching other people play though.
The latest sale catalogue is online, by the way - link on the side. The mug, Lot 77, is fabulous, cracked and chipped as it is. But it's a one-off, the painting is delicate and beautiful and I don't mind the damage at all.
Oh, by the way, when moving stuff in the kitchen garden this afternoon, we uncovered a toad. He was beautiful. I picked him up so that the brown bantam, who had just made short work of three large slugs, would not bother him, and gave him a new home among the artichokes. One artichoke is ready to cut, by the way - but only one. I wonder who will be the lucky person who eats it? Hmm.