Today, Christmas Day, I thought I would visit the spot in Holford on the Quantock Hills of Somerset, where I scattered the ashes of my mother a few years ago. It was a chance to get some fresh air and enjoy nature. Being Christmas Day, I didn’t see many people. Unrushed as I was, I took in the fresh air, listened to the wind blowing and the leaves rustling, and as I went also heard the twittering of birdsong. It was a peaceful afternoon and what better way to spend Christmas day as opposed to sat in front of the TV.
After visiting where the ashes were scattered, I continued walking and then went down into the woods, as I looped round slowly to where I had set off originally. I heard what I thought were people in the distance, and then caught sight of four deer running through the woods. Wary, but inquisitive as they were, they stopped and all eyes looked at me. They most likely had seen me long before I had seen them, especially given I was wearing a bright orange jacket! I had fortunately brought my camera and a long lens with me, as I thought originally I might get a few photos of robins or such like. I didn’t expect to get photos of wild deer!
I wasn’t getting the greatest of views; there were bushes and trees in the way. I waited in the hope they might move, allowing me a better shot, but they just stood there like statues, all eyes glaring at me. Eventually I decided to move on, but after seeing the deer, it slowed me down and made me more attentive to what surrounded me. I saw a number of other birds flitting from branch to branch, and the odd squirrel (my dad calls them “rats with bushy tails” as they would always wreak havoc on his garden when he lived in London). I didn’t manage to capture any other wildlife in my photos, but just by intently listening and moving slowly taking everything in, I heard another sound at which I thought was a squirrel. As I looked in the direction of the sound, it turned out to be a woodpecker. A lot more twitchy than the deer however, the sound of my camera shutter scared it off and the photo I attempted to get wasn’t good given the distance and failing light. Maybe I’ll do this again next Christmas.