WE WALK by the River Greta along the old railway line then turn up to the Castlerigg
Stone Circle, returning through woods to the lakeside café. As we cross the Greta
this bird (right), diving in the river, doesn’t look like the goosanders we see at
home. I make a field sketch and looking it up when we get back home, discover that
it’s a male red-breasted merganser, in the process of moulting its breeding season
plumage and going into eclipse.
It’s the ‘buffy pale pink’ breast (like a chaffinch, says Barbara) which clearly
identifies it as a drake merganser as the ‘black and white’ drake goosander never
has that colour on his plumage.
Not the kind of drawing that I’d normally do of a bird. A field sketch is more diagrammatic;
it’s surprising how soon you can forget the details of plumage.
Yellow Pimpernel, Lysimachia nemorum, grows in sunny spots at the edge of the woodland
tracks and, here, amongst shrubs in the woodland garden of the lakeside café.
Night at the Alhambra
I never realised that Keswick had a cinema; The Alhambra, was built in 1913 and still
lit by gas until the 1980s. Sitting upstairs in the circle reminds Barbara of her
childhood, when her father was projectionist at the Horbury Co-operative Society
Cinema. She was allowed to watch the Saturday matinee from the balcony, a special
privilege as children weren’t allowed upstairs.
Her dad used to tell the tale (and I’ve probably mentioned it before) of when the
two features were The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Sands of the Kalahari. One of
the reels got mixed up; so one moment the plucky band were struggling through the
burning heat of the desert, the next they were trekking through snow.
This evening’s performance is Night at the Museum 2. Keswick is a relaxing town for
a cultural break!