Wild Side

When the quelea rise from the bush, they do it all at once, with a great synchronised rustling, dense flocks smoke the air and scissor the sky with the rush of a million tiny wings; the sound is incredible. Sometimes I duck, instinctively, as if a harrier jet had sliced its way just above me.

But the rustling I heard on my walk yesterday was not quelea ascending in a cloud of cacophonous union, the heavy, sinister, shambling that tore through the scrub feet to my right was something much bigger, a buffalo rushing in panic. Fortunately for me, rushing the opposite direction.

I shall walk a little more carefully now and pick my routes mindful of those of others.

I am home after two months away. The time slid and whilst it was pocked by challenge it was sweetened by gifts: little unexpected life events that elevate an occasion from the ordinary to the exceptional. You want to bottle them so that you might take them out later to savour again: time with my girls, my sister, my oldest, dearest friend.

I left an England burnished by autumn and burned out by Covid19 and in my sadness there was relief as I returned to the reckless wild spaces of my Africa home.

Though I must watch out for buffalo.

Stay safe all of you.

Autumnal North London – Amelia

My father would have been 83 today. I wonder what he’d have thought of this crazy, crazy world. Covid19 aside he’d have had to get his head around mobile phones, the internet, social media, influencers, ATMs, electric cars, GPS, oat milk, soya milk, almond milk, cashew milk (he was a dairy farmer …). Sometimes, when one year goes sideways, and we are left standing still, it can be hard to recall all that others where we took huge strides forward.

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