River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Notes from a newcomer

April 2007

Sadly, the final set of noted from our Newcomer. Her column will be missed,

Feeling somewhat guilty (but not very) about the moans I've aired in previous pieces, I'd like to make my last contribution to The Pump a positive one by sharing with you - entirely randomly - some of the things that have cheered me up through a rather difficult year.

In February, a snowdrop walk by the river in Bodney took me to a spot where two swans nestled on the flower covered bank, little heads turning this way and that, smugly aware of the exquisite (white on white) picture they made. Why didn't I have my camera with me?

Rediscovering Trollope (Anthony not Joanna). Without a computer, he miraculously found time to write a great many novels so the soothing pleasure of escaping into the calmer, more certain world of Barchester stretches invitingly ahead.

Receiving a bill from Powergen informing me they owe me £371.73. (Can't help feeling this pleasant state of affairs is likely to be one of life's more fleeting joys, but nice while it lasts.)

An invitation from old friends to join them in Cape Town for their 60th birthday celebrations which will include a week touring South Africa's famous garden route. In my excitement, all high-minded thoughts about my carbon footprint were - like so many of my good intentions - unceremoniously ditched.

Train journeys never fail to raise my spirits. One fine morning in March, I caught the 7.06 from Downham Market and sat back with my carton of hot coffee to enjoy the sight of Denver Mill catching the sun's first rays while a thin mist floated above the flat fen fields.

As the train drew in to Waterbeach station, I saw a man feeding some pigs - two black ones and the third spotted like a dalmation. There is something oddly cheering about a black-and-white spotted pig enjoying a hearty breakfast. Lord Emsworth would understand.

I am always buoyed up by phone calls from a friend who shares my weakness for very short, very silly jokes such as "Knock, knock.","Who's there?", "The Avon lady. Your doorbell's broken."

From my kitchen window I have a grand view of blackbirds splashing in my bird bath. They throw up glittering sprays of water and look glad to be alive - until they are displaced by a big bully of a pigeon, who squats sullenly in a half-inch of water, defying the approach of smaller birds.

Another bird that makes my spirits rise is the barn owl I frequently see hunting over the rough ground between Downham and Salter's Lode. But I wish he wouldn't fly so low across that busy road where drivers put their foot down as soon as they leave the 40 mile speed limit .

Finally, my day was made when a kind lady waylaid me in Waitrose car park to tell me how much she enjoyed these notes from a newcomer - especially the tale of my pathetic efforts to be a mobile phone user. It was good to know that someone out there has been reading this stuff and even better to know it sometimes made them smile.

Marion Clarke

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