30 April 2013

two swans, six eggs, one hundred pages

Sometimes I feel negligent.  Deviate for a few days, a week, maybe longer even, and things move on. I hadn't even noticed, for example, that the swans were building a nest - this one just next to the bridge that crosses the canal between Mile End Park and Meath Gardens, where they normally nest. It was last Thursday that I saw it.  The pair were feeding and the six eggs were exposed, neat as can be, unlike the general messiness of the nest with plastic bags and packets tucked into the reeds. I was on my way to the market and had planned to sit in the sun for a while on the way home with a cup of coffee from the corner cafe and read a book.  And that is exactly what I did.  The coffee was good, the sun was hot and I was on a mission to finish a book that was due back at the library.  

I like Meath Gardens for lots of reasons, not least because it has lots of exits..  There are some allotments nearby, a small play space for children, a sprinkling of spring flowers, some very old black poplars and a eucalyptus tree, planted to commemorate cricketer King Cole that leans at an impossible angle. It's busy enough, but not too busy, even when the local secondary school is using it as a playing field. There's a particular bench that I like because it gets the sun full blast and you can actually put your feet up as it's more or less guaranteed that nobody else will want to share the space.  On this hot, sunny day, a few people ambled by with their dogs, a thrush pecked around, a young woman - Italian maybe, put up a poster for her lost cat and asks people whether they have seen him.  (Oh Hernesto, Hernesto, I hope you have gone home by now.)

And that's how I spent a delightful hour reading my book and eating sticky unwashed red grapes with none of the guilt I usually feel if I read novels in the middle of the day. I didn't manage a hundred pages  but I made some progress. Then my son found me and we cycled home together, only stopping to look again at the swans and share the news of the six eggs to another passer-by. 

I felt like I'd been on holiday,  I even got a little sunburnt.  And I finished the book before the library closed.


Annie Cholewa said...

Gorgeous images of the swans :)

A few years back a pair nested among some flotsam right under one of the arches of the bridge here. You could see the eggs if you stood on the bridge and looked down. Everyone in the village was excitedly keeping watch. Then one day the swans were gone ... some idiot had lobbed two bricks into the nest. I've not seen a swan here since that day.

Not to end on a sad note ... I had to try your nettles/eggs/asparagus combo ... yum!

colleen said...

That is so sad. This canal - the Regents - is reallly busy and the swans are on the other side to the footpath but obviously the didn't look up and notice the bridge when they built their nest. I found it quite consoling that other people were keeping a watchful eye on them.

Liz said...

Sounds perfect (apart from the sunburn and missing cat). Yesterday, on the walk with the dog, we spotted a family of tiny ducklings and their mother on the stagnant, foul smelling pond down the road and are now concerned they'll be lacking food.
Incidentally, I never wash grapes or feel guilty when I spend time with the current novel during the day.

Val said...

Thank you for sharing your outing :0) ...I could picture it so well ...lovely.

We've seen Swans recently on the Lagoon in town.It now has some patches of ice free water ..but I'm not sure which kind they were? apparently Trumpeter and Tundra swans nest here...you've got me intrigued now so I've looked them up :0)

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

A perfect break ... Culture and vitamins .
I do hope all the eggs hatch and the swans manage to rear them . Their optimism deserves to be rewarded .