Old Miss Seewood, over 150 years old and lived by the river. She caught me throwing sticks at her horse chestnut tree and invited me in to her cottage. Thinking she was a witch I agreed.
We sat next to a carp pond and she opened up several old shoe boxes. Thus I was introduced to the variety of shape, size and colour of the birds' eggs they contained. Their terrible smell troubled me little mingling as it did with the stench of the old woman herself.She started to talk of buntings and warblers. Soon we whispered of the nightjar and its dusky flight through corridors of willow.
I would visit her four times a week. We ate curly whirlys with our hot tea and I talked more and more of my trips to the riverbank, my ornithology. I saw kingfishers, corncrake,smew.
She grew more respiratory and restrained. She sensed her end and had a plot in the village churchyard. A week before she left I asked her once again for news of the nightjar, a bird I knew I would never see.
"Only in Owlton are the nightjars truly at ease. We would watch them for hours on end, my love and I. They called out for us"
I wonder, Tim, if you remember any of the birds of Oldton. Could I have misheard, with my budding twitcher's ear, the nightjar's favourite home?