Thursday, May 05, 2011

Larks, poets and census

This morning I walked Roxy, my neighbour's dog.  The racehorses were out exercising and there was an exaltation of skylarks. Sheepcote Valley's one of their main breeding sites. It was bitterly cold but that didn't put off a bird watcher, pointing his lens between the elders. I wandered over to him to chat about red kites. I knew they were in Wales and the borders and didn't know they were in Sussex. But I was intriqued by a large bird of prey perched on an allotment shed the other day. Its wings were unmistakably russet. He told me there'd been sightings, so I checked... it seems I'm one of many who've been lucky enough to see one.

Yesterday I was in London for a meeting about the Young Poets Network which is being set up by the Poetry Society. I met some inspiring writers and my son performed in the evening. We talked about what young writers need, how we can help them. There were some brilliant ideas and we recorded a collective poem about what we wished we'd known when we started to write.

I returned home to another letter from the census threatening me with prosecution. I filled in my form. I sent it off. Apparently the organisation co-ordinating Census 2011 (run by the Office for National Statistics) is so incompetent my form has been lost.

This morning after my walk, I emailed Glen Watson, the 2011 Census Director. I asked if he'd read Kafka and Orwell. I promised to visit him at his office in Titchfield and sit in reception until he apologised for threatening me with a £1,000 fine and criminal record. I received a reply by return and he says he believes me. Will his reply stand the Kafka test? We'll see.

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