My Wild Life

Cotswold Life - - COTSWOLD COUNTRYSIDE - SUSAN LEWIS Susan Lewis’s book One Minute Later is pub­lished by Harper Collins on Fe­bru­ary 21

Go­ing out and be­ing with na­ture is al­ways a won­der­ful tonic when I’m feel­ing in need a

break.

Of­ten when writ­ing I can spend days im­mersed in an­other world, so leav­ing my study to es­cape the de­mands of many char­ac­ters and deep emo­tions to breathe in some re­al­ity can be very free­ing.

I feel my whole body com­ing alive and mov­ing in a way that it doesn’t get the chance to when I’m sat at my desk.

I live south of Wot­ton-un­der­edge and of­ten head for North Ni­b­ley with my dogs to wan­der through the woods and out onto the pas­ture to­wards the Tyn­dale Mon­u­ment.

I love the feel­ing of be­ing en­closed un­der the canopy of trees and then break­ing out into a fan­tas­ti­cally wide open space with won­der­ful views of the es­tu­ary. I find metaphors abound as I gaze along the Sev­ern to the bridges join­ing Eng­land to Wales – most un­us­able, but it’s fun and nour­ish­ing on just about ev­ery level.

We see plenty of wildlife on our walks, rab­bits, deer and the odd hare. De­pend­ing on the time of the year, there’s an abun­dance of wild flow­ers, in­clud­ing or­chids, which I love, along with trees at the dif­fer­ent stages in their cy­cle. One of my am­bi­tions is to make a study of trees and flow­ers so that I can ex­pe­ri­ence the plea­sure of iden­ti­fy­ing them. I think that would make for an even greater con­nec­tion.

We prob­a­bly walk for about a mile and a half but it takes a long time be­cause my dogs, a pair of Co­ton de Tulears, love just to pot­ter about as if they have all the time in the world.

Liv­ing in the coun­try­side means I of­ten see wildlife close to my home. It’s not un­heard of to look up and see a fox star­ing through the win­dow at me. It’s al­ways a bit alarm­ing as we have ducks on our pond, al­though it’s a com­fort to know they can fly if they sense they’re in dan­ger.

We reg­u­larly feed the birds, great tits, a beau­ti­ful wood­pecker, robins, pied wag­tails, spar­rows and way too many crows - I’m told they fol­low the cows and there are plenty of those in our next field. Squir­rels are con­stant vis­i­tors to the feed­ers per­form­ing fas­ci­nat­ing ac­ro­bat­ics to get to the nuts, and we have swifts nest­ing in the garage.

Be­ing close to wildlife is en­rich­ing in so many ways. I feel very priv­i­leged to live in the Glouces­ter­shire coun­try­side. N

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