Sunday, 26 February 2012


On Friday I walked from Lympstone to Exmouth along the new cycle track and found myself watching wigeon. They were a cricket pitch away,  on the mud , just by Lower Halsdown farm. I counted them. They were nineteen. They were bunched up and in line, shuffling and wobbling comically one behind another with their heads down and their beaks dipping in and out of the wet mud and the puddles. They made me think of Peter Breughel’s painting ‘The Blind leading the Blind.’

I thought to myself as I stood watching wigeon that the words ‘watching wigeon’ were so wonderfully euphonious that they ought to be gracing the verse of a song, something like:

“When we were watching wigeon
A weary while ago
A wintry world was turning
A wicked wind did blow.
The sun was waning in the west
The warning was for snow
When we were watching wigeon,
A weary while ago.”

That perhaps is quite enough to be going on with!   The wigeon gave a welcome touch of colour, - those delightful heads like so many polished conkers -, to a very grey day on the Estuary for which I was truly grateful to them. Thank you wigeon!

1 comment:

  1. Mildly difficult to find rhymes for "wigeon" ...

    The afternoon was Stygian,
    And cold - a sitting-in-a-fridge 'un -
    When we were watching wigeon.