• Rosemary Lawrey

20 - Black, white and red


Black, white and red is a powerful colour combination, and, perhaps at least partly due to my liking for road signs, one of my favourites. Swimming the backstroke at my local pool and looking upwards, I usually see an array of bright red star-shaped splodges dotting the transparent roof canopy. These are the soles of the pretty little feet of the black-headed gulls that love to congregate there. It's a fairly unusual colour combination in nature, and never fails to take my breath away when I encounter it. On today’s walk, I followed the double yellow lines down the hill to the shore and was delighted by the picturesque sight of a big black, white and red dredger at anchor in the Solent, and, right on the water’s edge, a solitary oystercatcher posed in the foreground. How beautiful these black and white birds are with their bright red beaks and legs. They are easily alarmed, so I admired this scene of striking plumage and the floating heap of matching painted metal from a respectful distance. Walking on up the beach, I came across a whole parcel of oystercatchers, feeding off the cockles, mussels and worms in the shallows. It had now begun to drizzle, and their bold uniforms stood out crisply against the blurring beachscape, their piping voices piercing the murk as the rain began to patter down into the rockpools. The walker wrestles against the wind to raise her umbrella.


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