Two days ago I took Liza for a run down by the marshes in the usual spot but, cos it was a busy day and everything was ultimately pushed back by a few hours, we ended up being quite a lot later than the normal time. The way that it is set up is that there is a side road out of town which leads to that mess of abandoned buildings that I have photographed before, but there is also one spot which is still occupied by a company - and then down from that side road, there is another road which runs down to a car park and a cafe, which is where you can begin your walk across the marshes on the raised wooden pathway - and this bit feels quite busy in summer time cos there are a lot of people wanting to do that walk. But the cafe shuts at nine and there are no lights on the path itself. What I'm trying to say is that, at this time of the year at least, while it is light it feels quite busy and bustling, but after nine, there is nothing to do there and in the dark you realise that you are on a tiny side road, which comes off a road that is itself not that big and you can suddenly be aware that you are in a marsh quite far away from anything. Alongside the small road there is also a ditch which has a couple of feet of water in and which does widen out and join into the Tagus itself.
So anyway, I parked up on the side of this little road and read a bit of my book while Liza went off for a run. As she returned and was just warming down before getting in the car I heard her shout my name in excitement, with something almost like a tinge of fear in it. Sadly I missed it but it seems that as she was standing there an enormous otter came waddling down the road, she heard the claws scraping on the road giving some idea of how heavy it was. As she shouted it realised that - contrary to what it was clearly expecting - it didn't have the whole area to itself, froze, and then turned and dived into the undergrowth, no doubt heading into the ditch and then back to the safely of the river.
I really wish I had seen it. In my whole life I expect I can count the number of otters I've see in the wild, and the ones I have seen have been a brown blob of a head just above the water. Something like that sounds like a magical and rare moment. Genuinely envious.