Swans evolving to more sophisticated crimes
ITHOUGHT I was hallucinating the other day when I saw a very annoyed-looking swan bashing the handle of an empty car in a residential riverside road in Uxbridge. He was twisting his beak as if trying to open the car door and I couldn’t help wondering if the species is evolving to more sophisticated crimes – from arm breaking (GBH) to car-jacking?
From the River Frays to the Panama Canal is also a giant leap, but I returned from my walk and swan experience to read that the great passageway was celebrating its 100th anniversary on Thursday, August 14.
Mr F and I were fascinated when we made our first trip through the Panama Canal two years ago, particularly going through the six locks with only a foot to spare on either side of our giant ship. A wider lane is being constructed, to be opened in 2015, so passengers will then no longer have to breathe in as their liner squeezes through the narrow gap.
People waved to us from the banks, we saw frigate birds and pelicans and we passed through wider expanses of water with little islands which were once mountain tops. It took nine hours to pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean – one of 14,000 vessels making the trip each year.
We were lucky on that January day in 2012 as the temperature was 27°c, sunny and dry.
But, as usual, the weather forecast before our annual visit to the open air Shakespeare festival at Pendley Manor this month was really bad.
This time it was the remains of Hurricane Bertha which threatened our enjoyment, but fortunately it stayed dry throughout The Comedy of Errors.
However, the wind was alarming and shook the stand in which we were sitting. The lights swayed and creaked and as we tucked ourselves into inadequate tartan rugs (no offence to the Scots – hope that doesn’t influence any votes for independence) I wished I’d trawled eBay for body armour instead.
Rather unwisely I’d watched a programme about storms the previous night which showed a similar stand in America collapsing as a hurricane struck, killing many members of the audience.
It may have been a comedy we were watching but my adrenalin meter was switching between fight and flight throughout. Fortunately no swans were involved.