NOW THAT’S SOMETHING I’ve never seen before -rooks at the birdfeeder. Not just on
the ground below but one or two actually perched on the feeder itself. We count about
20 in all - I think the collective noun is a Parliament of Rooks. The similarity
to Westminster is striking! Those black wings again, as in my friend Elizabeth Butterworth’s
haunting studies, which, by the way, are still on display at the Redfern Gallery
No, the Parliament metaphor isn’t fair on the rooks. At a planning meeting at County
Hall a politician once challenged me about a bird record - a surprise visit by a
wintering bittern to a quiet local stream-side meadow earmarked for residential development.
At the time I was very upset that the politician, in his powerful position as supposedly
impartial chairman of the meeting, emphasised that he didn’t believe my record -
the implication being, so I felt it, that I was liar. Now that more has been revealed
about the endemic dishonesty of many of our politicians I feel that I can wear that
slur as a badge of pride. I wouldn’t want a seal of approval from a politician!
Having had the experience of trying to be honest and truthful in the face of party
politicians and vested interests I have a greater understanding of how politics work
and the current revelations about the less than honest use of expenses by some of
our elected representatives come as no surprise to me. The surprising thing is that,
despite the inbuilt flaws in the system, politicians do quite often end up making
- in my opinion, for what it’s worth - the right decisions, often tough, unpopular
decisions, in legislation on environmental issues.
We’re here at Armitages Garden Centre in the 1842 café, overlooking the farmland
around Shepley so we’ve got a chance to catch up with progress in the blue tit nestbox
on the CCTV; we count six hungry chicks in there. Hungry despite frequent visits
from the parents.