The cliff was bothersome because it was dirty. That’s why I took certain steps.  I rolled out a long extension cable and attached a series of extension leads stretching half a mile back to my house, then plugged in my Ryobi RY142300 2300 PSI Brushless Electric Pressure Washer. Like an eco hero I blasted the scummy old rocks and stained chalk lumps until I could see if not my face in them, then at least some chalky metaphor of myself.

Let me just add, washing a cliff is a day’s work and comes with the perils of falling rocks and intense splashbacks.

The grass by the cliff edge was a little too wavy, a little too ‘flowy’ for my liking, which is why I plugged in my Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100 W Vertical Steam Iron 20630 and set about the task of ironing the grass flat. This was a little stupid because the grass merely smoked away and stuck to the iron blade. I had better success with my Kent Handmade Small Fine Toothed Pocket Hair Comb which used to give one section a neat side-parting. Honestly, that was the only part I sincerely questioned because kempt grass held no particular attraction for me. Perhaps it was a harmless whim, or the result of some subconscious need to flatten things out, for it's certainly true that I always flatten my food with a pastry roller before eating it.

There were some rumours that the cliff top had foam seeping out through the earth. This is not true. I’m now able to confess that I added various flavours of Angel Delight- chocolate, banana, strawberry and butterscotch to the puddles and, thanks to my 450w Kenwood hand mixer made lots of colourful desserts for the cows that passaged across for evening milking. Actually, they never ate them. I tried tempting them with mooing sounds. When that didn’t work, I tried purring, although my great discovery that year was that I have a very loud, almost aggressive purr, (which nicely compliments my loud whisper). Any road, as my grandmother used to say, since the matter of cows has arisen, I should come clean and admit that it is my greatest love to spy on cows. My MO, as a certain kingfisher knows very well (more on that later) is to find a herd and shrewdly discern a certain type: I look for a beast with a little character in the eyes, with some hint of a revolutionary’s truculence or spunk.  I use whatever camouflage I can purloin from an army and navy store and mud from my neighbour’s garden- applied to the face. I then spy on that cow for several thrilling days, sliding along in long grass, tiptoeing, and hiding in tree crowns, basically anything to capture my target’s every move. I’m every bit the special forces guy. Rare is the time I’m ever spotted, although once a young Friesian was clearly on to me: I was shuffling along from behind a fake bush, and it kept turning sharply around glaring in my direction, apparently suspicious, casting me as the steaming pat in an otherwise shitless meadow.

To the legality, despite what you may think, providing you are not bringing any emotional or physical stress you are well within your legal rights to spy on a cow. You can spy on them until they come home, and you need fear no court action. Personally, I feel no guilt because let’s face it, we are all being spied on. Oh yes! I know for a fact that come rain or shine a kingfisher has been on my trail for some months. It wheedles into the periphery of my life, disguising itself as absurd things.  On the short train ride from Wokingham to Reading I have seen it in the refreshment trolley pretending to be a packet of cheese and onion crisps. It also lurks in the next carriage behind a newspaper, which is just plain dumb because I’m damn near certain birds cannot, repeat cannot read articles about France’s economic recovery.

Anyway, so what? Like I say, we are all being spied on. My brother strongly suspects that a polecat has tapped his phone and my sister who, coincidentally, sold me the steam washer and threw in the Angel Delight to sweeten the deal, caught a water buffalo rifling through her mail.

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