Two plump pigeons in Bray the small village on The Thames in Berkshire which is home to two of the four three Michelin star restaurants in the UK.
In The Grove two crows are collecting twigs for their nest, or at least one is. A couple of years ago I noticed the same thing- a piece of sexual stereotyping I suppose. One is picking up twigs while the other looks on. I cannot tell a female from a male crow, but it goes without saying that the female is working while the male is watching.
T S Eliot's Waste Land is on the radio this afternoon. It was first published in 1922 and should by the time I was at school in the late 1940s have been recognised as a significant work of literature defining the first half of the 20th Century alongside James Joyce's Ulysses. I have read and reread the poem many times since. But looking back it strikes me as odd that neither Eliot nor Joyce was ever mentioned in English lessons at school. I discovered both because boys of my own age or slightly older recommended them. Eyebrows I can remember were even raised when I requested Ulysses as one of my prize books in my last year. By then, I was reading Eliot on my own, unguided by teachers. I still have the Penguin edition of Eliot's Selected Poems with its distinctive blue and white cover. It is falling to pieces and my pencil notes alongside The Waste Land are beginning to fade but still show references to Jessie Weston's From Ritual to Romance, The Books of Ezekiel and Ecclesiastes, Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, Tarot cards and Beaudelaire, Andrew Marvel and Webster's White Devil and of course to the Sanskrit conclusion Datta. Dayadhvam Shantihhvam . Damyata. Shantih shatnih shantih. What surprises me this afternoon is how accessible the poem has become a lifetime later, how much a part of the world I now live in, and how obscure and inaccessible and dazzlingly modern it seemed then.