The day had been billed as being affected by the remnants of hurricane Bertha, and in the wee small hours, it did indeed sound as though all hell had been let loose. However, after a leisurely start, including breakfast in bed, things were looking a lot calmer in the quay.
There is the temptation to draw the blinds and hunker down when the weatherman tells us that it’s going to be a nasty day. But as someone once said, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. So by lunchtime we were out in the very fresh air and down by the quayside.
Scully had spotted Vestas, the lone swan, looking hungry amongst the boats and pontoons. Vestas is my name for him. He is ringed, but he hasn’t got a nametag, so his nickname has stuck. Though how you can tell a swan is hungry is beyond me.
In my experience, swans are always keen to eat any bread you care to give them, and the slice of thick cut wholemeal was gone in very short shrift. Scully has a way with animals, they seem to know that, as a vegan, they aren’t in any danger of being eaten, and seem to trust her just a little more. She, on the other hand, was pretty wary of Vestas’ beak. Even though they don’t have teeth as such, the serrations along his beak could inflict a deal of pain to the incautious.
The theme of nature continued as we walked into Poole. The pavement alongside the road to the Twin Sails bridge was strewn with grasshoppers of all colours and sizes. They seemed to be enjoying the dark tarmac that had been warmed by the midday sun, and were oblivious to the giant footsteps approaching. We had to be very wary of where we walked as we tried not to injure any of the creatures.
Having had a quick bite in the Slug and Lettuce (more nature references) we had a mooch around Poole and then headed back over the Twin Sails bridge. This time we were treated to the magnificent sight of the bridge opening to let one of the RNLI lifeboats through.
Compared to the old bridge with its massive solid functional structure, the new bridge is a true work of art, and watching it open majestically really is a treat.
The whole process of opening and closing the bridge only takes a few minutes, but it is well worth the time spent as you see the spars of the lifting sections tower above the waters of Holes Bay.
More mindfulness as we carefully picked our way back through the grasshoppers, followed later in the evening by a stomach churning time on one of the fairground rides in Hamworthy Park. The ghost train wasn’t nearly as experiential, though there was a squib of cold water right on the back of our necks as we entered the first ghostly tunnel.
Our day of experiencing nature first hand was rounded off in style, when who should we find waiting for us when we got home in the pitch dark, but Mr Toad. Of course, Scully was keen to put the little fellow out of harms way, many fall prey to domestic cats, so picked him up.
Contrary to popular belief, toads have a dry skin, not wet or slimy, and the rescuee sat quietly in her hands as we selected a suitably sheltered spot in the back garden. He even seemed a little reticent to crawl off into the grass, maybe he was enjoying the warmth her hands offered.
With the adventure over, it was time for bed, but our day of mindful nature will live long in the memory.