Eric Ravilious – June

I am really enjoying the June image on my Eric Ravilious calendar. It is another illustration from the 1938 edition of Gilbert White’s ‘Natural History of Selborne’ Apparently Ravilious thought the book was fantastic and was utterly chuffed when he was asked to provide illustrations for it. And here is this month’s image.

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The birds are unmistakably hoopoes. I featured the bird on this blog back in October 2014 and you can click here to read that.

But very few people actually click links so I’ll just say a few words about what the hoopoe means to me. My brother and I used to look at the image in dad’s bird book. We were both captivated by this exotic bird and as we grew up we pledged that if ever we saw one we’d tell the other person.

My time came in the early 1980s when, quite amazingly one fluttered over my garden and handily did a turn and came back when I had grabbed my wife so she could see it.

But was this a moment of elation? Well yes and no! Of course I was delighted to see this long looked for bird, but my brother had died in 1980 and I felt truly cheated that I was unable to tell him.

Close on 36 years have passed by now and time heals the wound. I look at the Ravilious image and think of my brother at the same time and I smile.

Thanks, Eric and thanks, too, to the calendar publishers.

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