House boat

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It was a balmy 12°C in Stratford this morning, and many of the waterfowl were behaving as though it was already spring. This pair of coots had adopted some of the debris that was brought down into the Avon by the storms around Christmas and New year, and were busily turning it into a nest. As it was out in the middle of the river, and the current was moving it steadily in the direction of Lucy’s Mill Weir, I had a strong presentiment that the situation wasn’t going to end well – and indeed, by the time I’d completed my errands and was walking back towards Old Town, there was no sign of either raft or coots; but there are places between Lucy’s Mill and the next weir where rubbish like this can catch the bank and hold, so maybe they’ll be able to follow their home downstream and rebuild it.

As an aside, for most of my life I wouldn’t have been able to remember whether these were coots or moorhens, and would have had to look them up before writing about them. I’m indebted to my life partner for providing me with the mnemonic that now allows me to identify them instantly and with confidence: these are definitely coots, because moorhens are moor colourful. You’re welcome.

This evening R and I have been to the cinema to see All the Money in the World, which we both enjoyed very much. There are failings – for example, there’s a chase scene that I thought was gratuitous, and the confrontation scene between Getty senior and the Mark Wahlberg character is ridiculous – but Michelle Williams and Christopher Plummer were both excellent, and considering that I knew perfectly well what the outcome was going to be, I was surprised at how well the suspense was maintained. Recommended.