DUCKLINGS: Deciding to tidy up an overgrown corner of my garden, I was taken by surprise to find myself being watched by a pair of tiny brown eyes surrounded by a nest of fluff and other materials. It was a female Mallard duck. She had decided this brambly tangle was a good place. Three weeks have passed and this morning she still has not done me the favour of producing, so Operation Tidy is still on hold. News Flash, 2pm in the afternoon and at last, broken egg shells and cheeping sounds mean the wait is over. Eight balls of fluff surround their mother. The next problem is to persuade her to lead them from the garden to the pond in the field. Somewhat reluctantly and under gentle persuasion, success.

WILDLIFE: It has been a period of wildlife confrontation for, a couple of days ago, I came within six feet of a very healthy, bushy-tailed fox. We regarded each other for a few seconds before it disappeared into the long grass. Why is it that these encounters happen when one does not have a camera handy? Perhaps my luck will change, but so far, I have been armed with a camera to no avail.

NOSTALGIA: July 10 provided the village with an evening of nostalgia. Two long-standing residents, Richard Way and Gill Simmons, engaged their audience with many amusing tales of their life in the village past and present.

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