Friday, October 28, 2005

Pigeons, old man's beard, Big Ben

Yesterday was the warmest October day on record. I watched pigeons sitting on the ducting under the road bridge which crosses the railway at the station. They were cooing and murmuring as though the sun had set off hidden mechanism in their throats. Clearly they were behaving as though it were spring. They seemed to be performing the regular mating rituals, in which the the birds appear to kiss, the male using his beak to push food into the female's beak.

The sun shone on old man's beard, wild clematis, which clambered over shrubs and low trees by the railway line. It looked like off-white snow.

The chimes of Big Ben are one of the most reassuring sounds. This weekend, I read that the clock will be stopped for 32 hours for servicing, The bell, after which the clock is named, first tolled in 1858. Virginia Woolf describedthe sound of the chimes as "leaden circles disolving in the air".

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