Next-brother-down has been to stay overnight, en route to a speaking engagement in Cornwall. He’s always interesting! So we caught up on all the things you do … and then on some of the things we’ve never talked about before. I never knew, for example, how lonely he was when he went up to Cambridge, and how bored he got there. He put it down to the fact that our parents had sent him to boarding school for his sixth-form, and of course there you live with everybody and you just get on with it. You don’t have to make an effort to socialise because you’re with other people all the time. Consequently when he got to uni he had to learn new social skills, and it took him a while to work that out. The second year was better when he lived in a small hostel which had communal spaces where people could meet and chat.
The next morning we took him for a walk along the seafront, and at the far end I was enchanted to see these delightful little birds all lined up on the sea-wall, for all the world as if they were waiting for a bus. I think they are called turnstones – but I’m hoping my ornithological friends will know better than me
I had a job getting close enough to them to get a reasonable picture: they fuss and flurry if they think they might be in danger and consequently started scampering along the wall despite my moving with extreme care and slowness … can’t blame them really.
At one stage I lifted the camera over the railings to see if I could capture their line-up that way. What I discovered is that they almost totally disappeared from view, so well-camouflaged were they against the rocks and sea-wall.
Ain’t nature clever.