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The light on the canal side this morning was dull; the trees hung great impenetrable shadows like nets. And under these on the other bank, where the hill fell into the water, a small gathering of horses muttered gently to themselves, only eyes, muzzles and the occasional blaze visible through the gloom. I was so intent on looking at them that I almost didn’t see the fawn standing stock still on the towpath 80 yards ahead, transfixed…like “a fawn in the headlights” I guess, until with the sudden electricity of instinct it bolted forward and across and into the undergrowth. And not too far on after that a heron flew low across my path, I could almost hear the ratchets and cogs, before settling across the way at its fishing spot. And of course the guttural jay…

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