I’m still on my quest to find beautiful things here in England and at this time of year it’s really not hard. It’s even easier if you get out of town and into the countryside. Recently I visited my brother and his family in the South Hams area of Devon. They live on a farm surrounded by gentle hills and valleys, narrow, winding lanes, and all sorts of wildlife. If I lived there I’m sure I would spend every bit of free time walking around with a camera. As it was, I forgot to take one and had to make do with my phone: a poor substitute.
Much of the weekend was taken up with seven orphaned ducklings. Just before they were due to hatch, the mother duck disappeared (thought to have been killed by a mink) and so my brother and his family took the eggs inside where they hatched under a heat lamp. The ducklings were kept in a box on the Aga for several weeks and then moved to a little enclosure outside on the grass. During my visit, they were released into the pond – their first exposure to swimming. They went absolutely crazy: splashing, darting and bobbing in an ecstatic frenzy which they kept up for hours, while also making lots of happy-duckling-noises: whistles, peeps and squeaks. I now have a fuller appreciation of the phrase “like a duck to water”.
One of the best parts of the visit was seeing a flash of electric blue as a kingfisher sped into the shrubs around the pond. In fact, there were several kingfisher appearances over the weekend, despite the lack of fish, the noise from the ducklings and the exuberant use of the rope swing nearby.
Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of the kingfisher, even though I perched for ages on the stepping stones, phone at the ready. Still, here are some other lovely sights in this little slice of Devon, a place I will be visiting more often now that my Mum has moved there too.