Country diary: the buck stops with me – momentarily

Country diary: the buck stops with me – momentarily

Bishop Auckland, County Durham: There was time enough for me to take in every detail: new antlers clothed in frayed velvet, eyes like polished jet, twitching ears and a rough coat

Anyone following me along this pavement near the marketplace might have thought I’d vanished into thin air. In fact, it was a narrow passage in the wall. I turned sharply into it and climbed the steep steps. As I rose, it felt like I was entering a portal into another world.

I emerged to find that I was being watched by a roe deer buck. We were both startled, but in those few seconds there was time enough for me to take in every detail: new antlers partially clothed in frayed velvet, eyes like polished jet, twitching ears and a rough winter coat that he was moulting into his summer pelage. Less impressed with me than I with him, he turned tail and cantered away among the trees.

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