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What a wonderful world

Some days seem to come with a soundtrack. If I’m lucky, it’s Matt Monro singing ‘On Days Like these’ or Lou Reed singing ‘Just a Perfect Day.’ Other days are ‘Courtin’ Disaster’ or ‘The Optimists Blues’ by Neil Diamond. I have been known to have days that deserve to be accompanied by the theme from ‘The Great Escape’ or ‘Indiana Jones.’

Today, though, was Louis Armstrong all the way, because I walked down to Poole Park, which is both the winner of a Green Flag Award and the Green Heritage Association. I used to volunteer there so you can call me biased all you like, but today was special even by its standards.

The sun was shining. Plants were growing as if they’d been mainlining steroids. There was a sense of new life demanding to be noticed so I shouldn’t have been surprised to see an egret feeding at the edge of the seawater lagoon. (Think of a tiny heron. White, and with a slightly punk hairdo.) This one was quite happy to have his picture taken; which makes a nice change because our cormorants specialise in waiting till you’ve lined up your shot and then flying off with a caw that sounds remarkably like a snigger.

That would have been enough to make it a good day, but then we saw jellyfish. Yes! Actual little jellyfish moving gracefully along. My photographic talents aren’t up to them, but you can see them here -

People stopped to see what we were staring at; and, as we do down here in Dorset, we chatted before going off to see the baby cygnets. Eight of them, all sweet and fluffy and snuggled under their Mum’s wing to keep them warm. There’s a story behind this family because my daughter adores wildlife and has boundless (and frequently misplaced) confidence in my abilities to sort things out. That’s led to me wading into a slimy lake while pregnant to rescue a cygnet with its foot stuck in a grid and, for Punky the swan, keeping him calm while Swan Rescue came to take the fishing float out of his beak. (Don’t get me started on careless fishermen. Please, just don’t!) They weren’t sure if he’d be able to feed, so down to the park we went each day with treats while his beak healed. Meanwhile, Punky discovered brioche and croissants from the posh cafe; and the posh cafe discovered how big a swan is when he started foraging through their recycling bin!

Anyway, these days he’s a proud and protective dad, and he and his partner Lucky (ring number LCK 173) raised two lovely cygnets last year. We have high hopes for this year’s babies and are awed when they bring their latest brood to meet the human mugs who bring them grain and lettuce all through the year.

That would have been enough, but then we went into the quiet garden to sit down for a drink, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a little mouse. Which was good, because recently I’ve only seen dead ones courtesy of my cats. Then I spotted a flash of yellow and brown, and sure enough, there were two ducklings. Something moved under the overhanging trees, and when my eyes adjusted I spotted mother moorhen and her two fluffy babies who looked just like the sort of toys I used to make with pompoms and pipe cleaners. Turning back, a robin was feasting on my biscuit crumbs. (Oops, did I forget to mention the biscuits? Well, it was a long walk and they were only little ones.)

The news this morning was bleak. Doom, gloom and despondency everywhere. But as I walked home I remembered what I should have known all along. Punky and the jellyfish don’t care about politicians. The war in Ukraine is terrible, but that makes it more important to recognise that it is a Wonderful World and do all I can to keep it that way.


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