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We were out of milk (again – how come we still underestimate that one?). So, after dropping the boys off at school, I walked to Morrisons to get some more.

Here’s what I heard. Cars. A great big truck beeping loudly as it reversed. A train rumbling over the railway bridge. A siren. Someone shouting. Someone laughing. And then, cutting sharply through it all, a chaffinch. Its song, someone once told me a long time ago, like a cricket-player bowling a ball, which then gets sharply batted. The description has stayed with me for years. I didn’t see the chaffinch – there was too much Morrisons in the way – but its song cut right through all that city stuff, and it made that errand to buy another four litres of semi-skimmed that little bit nicer.


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