William’s a London child. His commute to nursery passes railway tracks and city streets, as well as a walk through a rather nice park. The animals my grandson sees on his daily round are dogs-on-leads, cats and urban foxes.
We wanted Yorkshire to offer him something different. On his very first afternoon, we visited two-day-old lambs in the field at the end of the road, wobbly on their legs and clinging to their mothers. Later we’d visit older lambs, confidently running and jumping across a public footpath as William wandered among them.
Then it was off to the duck pond. Two Mrs. Moorhens had a chick each, so light that even pond weed could bear their weight: were they walking on water? Mrs. Mallard had eight balls of fluff scuttling from land to pond to rushes – constantly on the move.
The next morning, good friends Gill and David invited us over. There were puppies to pet, dogs and a cat to stroke. And then there was Reggie, their grandson’s very own Thelwell pony. Reggie turned out to be far too scary to ride, but perfectly good to take for a walk.
Then William was put to work, collecting eggs. He didn’t break very many as he dropped them none too gently into his collecting basket. Afterwards he fed the hens. And we went home for scrambled eggs on toast. Thank you William. Thank you Gill, David and the hens.
Late one afternoon, William and I went for a walk in the woods and saw rabbits, a dozen or more, grazing the grass on the other side of the fence.
I wonder if it was one of them who left the chocolate eggs that William found in the garden when he went hunting for them on Easter Sunday?