Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Friday, 5 March 2010

The Outwood Swans

“There’s just one more thing I’d like to show you,” said Simon, the agent.
I’d already viewed the house and was quite clear that this was the best we’d seen so far. It was a reasonable price, though a little too 1990s for my taste. Still, the “suitable for people who like walks in the country” had considerable pulling power.
“I’m just going to show Dr James the lake,” he said to the owners.
It was just a short walk to St Paul’s Close, a cul de sac which ends at the entrance to the Outwood Country Park.
“What do you think?” asked Simon.
There it was: a small lake – or rather what Fendrake might call a “man-pond”. And on it a most beautiful swan, swimming elegantly, like they do.
“She lost her mate in the summer,” said Simon. “She seems a bit lonely.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“No-one knows,” replied Simon. “He was just not there one day.”
“So, what is this place?” I asked.
“There used to be a paper-mill here,” said Simon. “This was the mill-pond.”

We took the house. Already I was beginning to get an idea for a story and Gentle Footprints hadn’t even been thought of then. I was fascinated by this lonely female swan. I was also rather fascinated by an estate-agent who knew how to sex a creature like her. Perhaps most of all I was fascinated by this piece of land which had formerly been industrialised but that was now going back to nature. Except it wasn’t really going back to nature – nature is arriving in a way that it was never there before. The body of water that was here before the mill would never have been suitable for a swan.
There is a lot of this about in my area. The Manchester Ship Canal no longer has big ships mooring there. A few rowing boats and canoes potter about. The area around it, now called Salford Quays, is covered with blocks of eye-catching luxury flats, home to up-and-coming young professionals. Yet there’s room for nature. Sometimes people who look after the canals sweep the bits of “debris” together to tidy up the water. I’m pleased to say that these days this is mainly natural material – twigs, leaves, moss.
Then the water birds descend – cranes, heron, all sorts of geese, unusual ducks and several different seabirds. Even sometimes swans. There are extremely rich pickings in this natural debris. I’m sure we’d never have seen these wondrous creatures so close to such a big industrial town as Manchester before the Ship Canal was built.
As nature comes near to us in this new way, we have to learn to live with it differently. That isn’t without its difficulties for either us or the animals. The territorial divisions are less distinct now. And that’s what The Man-Pond is all about really.

1 comment:

  1. I bought my house because the first time i came to see it, a kingfisher flashed past, along the stream opposite. The estate agent seemed to know all about that too.....