Tales Of The Riverbank And The Marshes

The riverbank of which I speak was inhabited by glamorous moles. There were dozens of them, each more glamorous than the last, and the one who engages our attention on this damp Wednesday is the most glamorous mole of all. Her name is Hortense. Before you start complaining about the regrettable practice of anthropomorphising riverbank creatures, please bear in mind that not a jot of that is going on here. The mole was called Hortense and she was extremely glamorous. She wore a sort of mole version of a cloche hat, but there was nothing remotely human about her. She was just a mole, albeit one so glamorous that other moles swooned in her presence. Have you ever seen a mole swoon? It is quite a sight, and you will do well to have your camera at the ready. On the Wednesday of which I speak, there were many swooning moles to be seen by the riverbank. And we have not even begun to explore the marshes!

Out in the spooky marshes, at dead of night, nothing stirred. Nothing except tiny nocturnal creatures whose habitat was marsh and fen. Cock an ear and you might hear scrabblings and scurryings, fugitive wisps of sound in the otherwise eerie silence. There you sit in your concrete pillbox, a primed grenade in one hand and a mug of tomato soup in the other. The dampness of your socks is most distressing. You are distressed by the dampness of your socks, in the marshes, in the night, but why are you holding a hand grenade? Is this wartime? Surely in wartime you would not be fobbed off with damp socks? A bat appears near your head, and you flinch. These marshes are known for their colonies of bats. Wisely, you sip your soup. It is piping hot. The air around the marshes is not.

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