As I left the house and was about to get in the car I noticed the wind brush my face. OK so that sounds a bit sentimental, perhaps, but the fact is that it made me pause. Then I noticed that the sun was actually shining and I wondered whether I needed to come straight back home after my visit. I was not sure but decided to give myself the option of going on somewhere afterwards. So I went back indoors to get my purse and a snack.

When I parked the car, a little while later, I noticed someone tending their garden. Instead of rushing straight to my planned visit, rather than just saying ‘hello’, I stopped for a chat. I’m glad I did, as I was able to catch up on some news as well as to just pass the time of day.

As I turned to go, there was an added bonus. It was the call, I think, of a buzzard. At the time all I was sure of was that it sounded rather like the eagle’s cry you might hear on a wildlife programme on TV. It was a shrill descending tone that lasted about a second, I suppose. Imagine a high-pitched swannee whistle going from its high note to its low note very quickly. (I’m not joking about the swannee whistle but I don’t know how better to describe it.) I thought it might be an eagle – but you don’t get many of those in town. Shortly afterwards I saw a large bird, which I’m fairly sure was a buzzard, take off from behind one of the roofs and fly away – in the general direction of the countryside.

I’m glad I did not rush to my meeting because it meant I had a nice conversation with one person and the bonus of spotting a fairly rare bird of prey.

Meanwhile, after the visit, I found I had time on my hands: too early for lunch but nothing in the diary for the rest of the morning. I started to go home but instead of turning left into our estate I drove on to the country park a couple of miles up the road. I was not best dressed for the park as I had my work suit on and I had neither hat nor sunglasses so I stuck to the tarmacked paths for a short walk.

The first part of the walk had me walking into the sunshine so I took the parallel path through the trees next to the tarmac track. Fortunately for my clean shoes, the path was dry. Then my route took me along the dam and back again. As I reached the point of return I heard the trill (there is probably a better description) of a kestrel. Because of the height of the dam I had a brief view of it looking down over it before it soared up higher and demonstrated why it has the nick-name of windhover. I have never been so close to a kestrel in the wild – just a few metres away at first – and it was worth the discomfort of wearing a dark suit in the bright sunshine. Usually my best view of a kestrel is only a dark blur in the distance. This time I could see (even if for only a few seconds) the light tawny brown of its wings and some of its speckled markings – the sort of detail I usually only get to see in a book. It was a bit breezy out on the dam but at least it was just strong enough to keep the insects at bay – well most of them at any rate – as I walked back to the car.

I’m not sure if there is a ‘moral’ to this tale. I know that there will be plenty of days when the diary is chock-a-block and others when the diary is not full but the in-tray is. I suppose the lesson is that if an opportunity comes to take a different route home then it is worth taking it. There is no guarantee that anything special will happen if you do, but if I had gone straight home I would never have found out.