I’ve been driving around a lot over the last week and you see things as you travel. I’ve seen moor-burning on or near Walshaw Moor, I’ve seen a rutting Red Deer stag with a harem of hinds near Otley, I’ve seen Red Kites in several places where they wouldn’t have been in the fairly recent past, and I’ve seen the autumn leaves just hinting at changing colour.
But perhaps the greatest pleasure I got was in a rather unusual place, and that is one reason nature is so wonderful, and that was on the slip road from the M1 to the A14, in a traffic queue – a couple of hours ago.
There are roadworks at this junction that seem everlasting, and the slip road is always a queue. Whilst I have the patience of a saint, I am wont to start drumming my fingers on the steering wheel and going thin-lipped as it takes ages to travel a few hundred yards.
But today, on the left of the slip road, nearer the top than the bottom, there was a charm of Goldfinches , about a dozen of them, feeding on thistles. They were delightful. Only a few feet away, getting on with their business of ripping thistle heads to bits and extracting the seeds whilst the world went by.
Except of course, I didn’t go by because I was in a queue. And when the traffic moved a bit, I didn’t – I stayed to watch the Goldfinches who seemed intent on feeding and oblivious to the world of cars and people. It pleased me to see them, especially there and then. And it made me less impatient to cover the next few miles home. And it made my day. Traffic calming for free. I was charmed.