Saturday, 24 November 2012

Pussy doesn't taste nice

One of the most unremarked upon, underrated and enjoyable aspects of riding a bicycle in the countryside is the ability to creep up on nature when it's not looking. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago my close encounters with deer. Today was better. At one point I rounded a corner, barely a couple of stone's throws from the Jodrell Bank observatory, to see a bird of prey pecking away at an object about 20 yards into a field, but without much enthusiasm. He was obviously a bit unconvinced by the carrion on offer.

Taking a leaf out of the Cycling Mayor's book of blogging photography I decided to capture the moment. At first I thought I was going to be thwarted - the bird (which I assume to be a buzzard, as I don't think anything bigger habitually frequents the Cheshire Plain, though I'd be delighted to be corrected by any passing ornithologists on the basis of the limited evidence below) flew away, but to my delight decided to perch in the tree above my head. Accepting the limitations of the iphone camera, here's the very chap:


He seemed happy enough there, and I was intrigued about what it was he'd been contemplating for his lunch, so I decided to investigate. Limboing under some barbed wire, and risking getting my cleats seriously muddy, I wandered into the field. This was what he'd been semi-interested in (squeamish look away now):


That's right, a dead ginger cat. I couldn't tell how she/he had met his muddy end, but I suppose it was feasible he'd been hit on the very quiet road not too far away, and crawled off to expire. Poor little thing. At least she/he wasn't going to suffer the indignity of being eaten by the buzzard, and at least you now understand the gratuitous innuendo that's the title of this post.

I did a 53 mile tour of the Cheshire Plain today, and it was a-hunting and a-shooting and a-fishing-tastic all the way round. The hunting and fishing is not unusual round these parts, but seeing four separate shoots on one day is. The beaters were out of course, but sticks and whistles are clearly the wrong tools for the job. A few times pheasant emerged unexpectedly in front of me and flapped tantalisingly at a very shootable height for a couple of hundred yards - those beaters need to hop on their bikes.

It was nice getting out there today after five days of London and its sprawl. Head clearing and all that. Apart from the proliferation of flora and fauna there wasn't a lot that made the ride remarkable; perhaps the most unusual thing was that it was a ride that started mid-morning and finished early afternoon - I normally like to clearly delineate my rides into 'morning' and 'afternoon'. Must be the low level OCD. Perhaps I 'grew' a little bit.  Eergh. But the forecast was for frost first thing and rain from 3, hence the timing. It worked.

I'm descending into weather discussion. Time to stop.


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