Organised at first, the lapwings moved as a single creature. Like a sea serpent shifting its body one way and then the other, before dissolving into chaotic black fragments around a flock of starlings, says Lucy Scott.
It’s not until you’re bobbing about in a tiny kayak in the middle of the river that you begin to appreciate the sheer scale of the Thames. Never before have I kayaked on anything this wide, deep and cold, says Juliette Dyke.
There is stillness here but it is not still. This resting place is well visited… It’s a frosty, crisp day but sunlight remains shut out. Inside the cemetery gates, day swerves abruptly into dusk.
The living and the dead mingle on the Downs this morning. Meadow brown butterflies kick up from the ruins of grassy tussocks and rusting bramble. They are as shed leaves moved by an autumnal breeze.
Bird migration – an epic, endlessly fascinating story that few of us are intimate with but is playing out around us throughout the spring, autumn and beyond, both day and night.
The shipping container is resting skew-whiff on the piles of abandoned boat paraphernalia that litter this part of the river – battered ropes coiled sluggishly in sodden heaps; old buoys forever beach-bound.
demoiselle, fierce sprite, 19th century brick railway arches, buddleia and brambles from ledges, stained by rain, the odd siren or train klaxon, and me moving through the heavily-breathed London air again.
Further up the slope there was a hint of a noctule bat’s chip-chop call coming through the static of the airwaves, but nothing else. There are very few bats around, the woodland all but shorn of them.
My son was not two and my daughter turned six during our first night in London, where we slept in the old house of Edward Lear. That’s how I make travel plans, by seeking out the stomping grounds of dead poets.
I’m on an old-fashioned quest. Having got permission to enter The Walks, I open the gate with the large metal key. It creaks with age. These gardens have existed since 1597, when Francis Bacon planted the first trees.