So I’m just back from a short trip to London. A thing that I used to do quite frequently. But since that ‘P’ word (the Pandemic) struck and due to other circumstances, personal, family and general loss of (personal) direction, I haven’t been for three years.
THREE WHOLE YEARS! How the heck did that happen?
Anyway, my lovely friend invited me to the theatre, she’d won champagne tickets at a fundraiser, so of course, off I went. And gosh I didn’t realise how much I had missed it. The sights, the sounds and the bustle (although I think less bustle than pre covid).
I visited new places, in particular The Battersea Power Station. The place from my childhood, seen on the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals album. The place that I have watched from the train window as it grew again like a phoenix from the ashes. And wow what a place! An amazing example of urban regeneration with a fabulous juxtaposition of industrial and contemporary architecture. And yes I will be back to go up the lift 109! As friends know I love a view!!
I revisited places – Coal Drop Yard, Granary Square, Covent Garden and The Tate Britain where I wandered the galleries to say hello to all the familiar ‘faces’ (artworks) like old friends and be engulfed in emotion and share a tear in front of Chis Ofilli’s No Woman, No Cry.
But as I took a moment on a bench on Wandsworth Common watching the many ducks and geese and pigeons and coots and moorhens, I noticed something that I hadn’t before.
Now I have spent a fair few years on this planet, and I consider myself quite an observant person. I am a country girl at heart. But it took a visit to the city for this country girl to look with fresh eyes and see details that have been hidden in plain sight.
Feet. More specifically the feet of the moorhens and coots.
I don’t think I have ever taken notice, looked at them, really seen them before!
They are huge! And bright and bold – lime green in the case of the moorhen, wonderfully spotty – the coot. And so prehistoric! Incredible!
And why have I not noticed these before? Moorhens and coots are so common. I see them on my walks every day. My parents had them nest in their garden. How do I not know these fabulous Jurassic feet?
And then it occurred to me. In the country moorhens and coots are shy birds. They scuttle off into the long grass as you walk along the path. They paddle furiously off to the reeds on the other side of the river as you approach. In the country these birds are on the water or running away. But here in the city they have a sense of confidence not seen in their country cousins. They quite happily walk up close to you (they’re used to being fed) proudly showing off their beautiful legs!
And so on return I am inspired to add some coots and moorhens to my collection of collage birds. This may be the first but I think there will be more to join her!