River Wissey Lovell Fuller


June 2007

Ivor brings us another tale from the banks opf the Wissey

Despite a wind it is another fine bright day. Long intervals of sunshine prevail and although very pleasant it is not right. It should be spring and we need the old fashioned defined seasons back again. Rain is badly lacking to feed the new green growth. The cold evenings followed by sharp frosts return us to reality. Across the fields the narrow river Wissey snakes along en-route to the wider and slower stretches further downstream. All is peaceful and quiet. The village church tower stands proud commanding the distant tree line and its clock chimes out signalling mid-morning.

A large brown hare sits motionless on the rise of the meadow and surveys the whole scene. As always the hare has the wind behind her. She is a creature of habit and this is one of several favourite spots. From this station in the grass and with her highly acute senses she is fully aware of all movement and happenings about her. Her huge saucer eyes can see almost a full circle without any need to move and her long black tipped ears are alert to every sound. She is like a radar station monitoring a mass of information. Beside the footpath a field mouse scampers in the hedgerow but our hare spotted it a long while ago. In the next field rabbits are enjoying the warmth. A cock pheasant with its bright colours stalks through a nearby copse and has also been studied.

Suddenly the hare's nose and ears twitch - something new has been registered. On the other side of the river there is a movement near the reed beds. Another large hare comes into view. It pauses, then speeds off and stops again. It stays completely frozen for several minutes and then with an instant turn of speed disappears into the undergrowth and the tangle of an overgrown ditch. Our hare focuses all her attention on this spot and waits patiently. There is no alarm but she is merely curious - just like the next-door neighbour peeping from behind her curtains! This is her territory and she is anxious to note all the comings and goings.

Nothing more is seen of the alien hare. Across the meadow above the row of trees a multitude of rooks display their acrobatics circling and diving in a black noisy mass. At the cow-drink alongside the river unseen fish plop in the slack water. In a flooded dyke a mass of toads heave just below the surface weaving long strings of spawn. All around the dark colours of winter are slowly being replaced by hints of green. The heat of the sun increases and it is easy to imagine growth.

Suddenly the other hare reappears close to the narrow wooden bridge spanning the water. He blends into the hedgerow. He looks about and then quickly speeds across the bridge. Our friend is still watching and she now recognises the intruder. Immediately she abandons her statue pose and chases down the sloping meadow to greet her mate. Soon they are busy feeding but every now and again they pause to interrogate the different sounds and scents. Then without any warning she jumps straight up into the air with an almighty leap. Moments latter the other hare also leaps high whereupon they chase each other round and round in large circles. Thus they continue completely oblivious to anything else. When their 'happy hour' eventually ends they both collapse exhausted in the warm grass in complete and utter happiness!

Very few of us can celebrate spring in this same way but we can all be very thankful that we live in the beautiful countryside as opposed to a town!

Ivor Hook

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