Sunday, 16 August 2015

Dear Daisy - day 1

I have rewritten the first chapter of my Mouse Olympics and made it into a video

Dear Daisy,

Today I was remembering our walk together when you visited us in March.  With your boots you cracked the ice on the surface of the puddles and stamped your feet on the crisp frost that stubbornly refused to melt in the shade of the hedges. 

Do you remember the strong shafts of light that had filtered through gaps in the trees and made the vegetation look wet, green and new?

Sometimes  in these spaces there were the crowded heads of snowdrops blooming whitely in the weak Spring sunshine.  

We listened together to all the birds singing; they were all excited and noisy at the prospect of building nests, laying eggs and brooding young.

It seemed that the smallest birds made the loudest noise!  We heard the loud melodies of robins and wrens hidden in bushes,

and the great tits that proclaimed themselves with  high pitch trills from the tops of the still-bare branches of Ash trees.

I remember we were wondering, half hoping, that we might hear the first Chiff-Chaff before you returned to London

Since then the summer sun has heated up the hedgerows, the cuckoo has come and gone and chiff chaffs have stopped singing,

on warm evenings the air is sometimes filled with glistening midges that are scooped into the mouths of swooping swallows and martins

and the tight formations of squealing squadrons of swifts that screech in  through the farm yard to their nests in our eves.

New flowers have come and gone.  There was so much I should have liked to share with you.  There were the Daffodils in April.

In May the banks were turned red, white and blue with the blooms of Cow Parsley, Ragged Robin and Bluebell flowers.

As May turned to June clumps of purple bee-buzzing Columbine

appeared in long grasses  amongst the even longer spikes of pink Foxgloves,

and across the meadows there were carpets of cheerful buttercups with their pretty yellow faces turned to the bright blue sky. 

In July there were the lovely deep pinks of the willow herb wands and the pale bramble flowers that dropped their petals

and gradually changed into green, and then red berries.

Now the briars are heavy with their succulent black fruit.

Today I found a place to sit and sketch in the hazy heat of the late August sunshine.

I saw  hoverflies that darted from the purple thistle flowers

to the scented Meadow Sweet.

It was as if the world was opening it's heart to me; in the long grass there were the needle sharp trills of shrews as they passed along the bank in their never-ending  search for grasshoppers and beetles, and mice that ran along the tracks of old vole runs in the direction of our garden.

Why so many mice going in one direction?  This was unusual.  Very softly, on tiptoe and trying not to make a noise, I followed a group of mice to find their destination out.  Well I have some most exciting news for you.  I think I have stumbled upon a Mouse Olympiad that is about to start at the bottom of our garden.

Have you ever heard of the Mouse Olympics?  Well many people haven't because Mouse Olympiads are very private affairs that are only rarely seen.

Mice are shy animals that do not want to get eaten by predators, which is why at their Olympics there are no big opening ceremonies and no large crowds.  They are so secretive that many people have never even heard of them, other people, like your Great Uncle George are simply incredulous and  choose not to believe.

On a bank, to one side from where the main events are happening, the mice have constructed their Olympic Village.

Very few mod-cons in the mouse world, just hundreds of hastily constructed holes in amongst a  tumbling mass dock leaves and seeding grasses.

When the Olympiad starts the ladies and girls will put ribbons on their tails

to go to watch the dressage events they love best

And the mothers will take their children to watch the elegant gymnastics

Whilst the men and boys slink off to the wrestling tournaments

In the running races it is forbidden to use four legs, but there is always one who is tempted to cheat!

Then before the light falls all the mice will disappear for fear of attracting the wrong sort of visitors.

But as soon as the day breaks again they will be back in the arena, and then the games will heat up for the big cat events which draw the biggest crowds.

The track will be lined with groups of mice all watching their dare-devil stars risking their lives for a taste of fame.

It is really exciting that all this is about to happen in our garden.

I wish I could tell your Great Uncle George about it, but as you know he would never believe me, but at least I can write and send you letters with drawings of what happens in our garden over the coming few days.  Doing this will give me a lot of pleasure.

I hope your mother is well?  Do share my exciting news by reading this letter to her.

love and kisses

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