A Tough Day At The Office: An Indulgence


It’s the third Monday of the month, which means it’s not only personal essay day here on the blog, but it’s also Chudleigh Writers’ monthly meeting. And today, we broke out of our little room in the Town Hall and hit the road to Stover Country Park. What follows are my somewhat indulgent musings on the day.

I sit in the sunshine in the outdoor classroom and absorb what my senses are telling me.


I hear: bird song so loud and so varied it easily blocks out the noise of traffic from the nearby A38. At one point, the calls of robins, magpies and chaffinches, and the quacking of mallards, are all drowned out by the violent beating of a swan’s wings as it takes a break from swimming serenely and flies from one side of the lake to the other. 

I see: constant movement in the trees that can only be watched from the corner of an eye; a heron coming slowly in to land across the runway of the lake and disappearing amid the marsh reeds; robins so tame they pose for photographs; and squirrels that freeze as they observe us, then return to their foraging unfazed.

I taste: fresh fruit salad warmed by the sun, tasting far better than it would at the dining table.

I smell: very little. There is a curious lack of smell, as though the scents of the woodland have yet to awake from their hibernation; when I stir the undergrowth with my foot, there is a faint odour of drying pine needles.

I feel: the sun on my hands despite a cool breeze in my hair; the benches worn smooth by so many seats, contrasting with the sharp-edged bark of the living pillars supporting the canopy overhead.

I think; I write; I work.

I have the best job in the world!

Or do you think yours is better?

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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