Bright autumnal sunlight fills the back rooms of the house and we are reminded of the same light this time last year – or almost this time; it’s another week until it’s the first anniversary of owning this house. We’ve almost come full circle.

As I am collecting the washing off the line, I hear birds in the lime tree. Looking up, there is a brace of long-tailed tits and I gently gesture to M, inside, to look, knowing how much she loves these birds. We both stand in our respective spots, watching the last long-tailed tit in the tree as it moves briefly, cautiously, from one branch to another, calling for its friends who all scattered shortly before. It’s a lovely sight.

Later, on the beach, we see the spectacle of scores of pied wagtails all marauding around the high tide line in search of something. The dark natural colours of the beach’s pebbles mean that when motionless, the wagtails are reasonably well camouflaged. It is only when they are spooked and they all take to the air as one that they become immediately visible. Almost as one – there are usually one or two left over. The brave ones? The stupid ones? Either way, the leftovers are the ones you can get closest to, observing their bobbing movements as they hunt in the gaps between the pebbles, before they too take off and regroup in the mini sandstorm of birds overhead – and then they all drop from the sky as if dead, focussing their energies on a new part of the beach.

In the evening we walk to our local rugby club to see their fireworks display, postponed from earlier in the year due to bad weather (which was forecasted but never materialised). It was a multi-hour event, but the promise of the display beginning at a certain time was what dragged us out of the house and up the woodland paths to the club itself. With head torches and big coats we yomped along, catching glimpses of first of the rockets through skeletal trees. It was a good display, but there was no bonfire as we had supposed there might be. We’d also had dinner already, so had no real reason to linger, and we left shortly after the last big bang. So did most of everyone else, and we were surprised to see how many had driven to come – maybe the last big display of the season drew a larger than normal crowd?

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