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, 18 June 2010

The Day of the Cuckoo by Lyn Fountain

Sumer is icumen in, Lhude sing cuccu!

I was walking the dogs early Monday morning, and had taken one of my favourite paths, which is through the churchyard, up the incline of the wheatfield and along the line of the hedgerow behind the old Hall. It was cool and damp, the air was still and had yet to be stirred and warmed by a sun that was pale and weak for June. As I arrived at and turned the corner, facing north, a distinctive birdsong rose out of the haze of a distant clump of trees beyond the next village. It was the umistakeable call of a cuckoo. The first I'd heard since moving to the Norfolk countryside, and only the second time I'd ever heard one - the first time being around 15 years ago. A dozen times it called, "Cuck-oo.. cuck-oo.." in rapid succession, with barely a beat between the repetitions. It might be a bit late in heralding spring, and it's certainly not nearly summery enough here in chilly Norfolk, but - as corny as it sounds - the beautiful simplicity of it lifted my heart, and I couldn't wait to tell the first person I met that I'd just heard a cuckoo.

The cuckoo arrives in Western Europe from April onwards. After breeding, the adults return to East Africa around July, with the offspring following in September. From photographs, in the looks department - particularly because of size and head - I think they resemble the collared dove, but a cuckoo in flight, with its barred undercarriage, can also be misidentified as a sparrowhawk or a kestrel. Thrilled as I am to have heard the bird again after so long, I'd really love to see one next time.

Legend has much to say on the subject of the cuckoo. It is supposed to sing from St Tiburtius' Day (14th April) to St John's Day (24th June).
A very old book I have includes omens connected to birds, and of the cuckoo it recommends noting from which side of you the call comes. If it comes from the right, you may expect prosperity; from the left, prepare for disappointment. In my case it was straight ahead. Apparently the quarter from which you hear it will indicate the direction of your travels during the ensuing year. As 'my' cuckoo was calling from the north, I'm hoping not to travel too far in that direction. Any more than 30 miles and I'll be in the North Sea!

I remember bits of a little rhyme my mother used to chant to me about the cuckoo. And it went something like: In July time to fly, In Au-gust away I must. I can still hear her voice putting the stress on the '-gust' to make it rhyme with 'must'.

In his poem To the Cuckoo, William Wordsworth said: 'O Cuckoo! Shall I call thee bird, Or but a wandering voice'. So perhaps he found them difficult to catch sight of too!

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