29 June 2010
Overhead, against a thundery sky swifts cut a dash through the air as they gorge themselves on flying insects. Down at the old cowhouse fledgling blue tits perform Immelman turns as they dart about the place. Biggles flies again, except the Kestrel took Bertie out this morning, leaving us with three aces, Biggles, Algy and Ginger. Von Stalhein has nothing on our predatory Kestrel; Baron Von Richtofen and his Jagdstaffel would be put to shame by our three heroes.
My neighbour will be devastated when he gets home from work and sees Berties feathers, bloodstained and tattered, lying at the foot of the gate. The Blue Tits grew up in a nesting box in his sycamore that had lain unused for a decade.
We don't credit birds with feelings like ours, but since noon, when the dreadful deed took place, there has been a succession of birds landing nearby. Maybe they hope to lelarn something about Bertie's death that might aid them escape Baron Von Kestrel for another while. Flight Lieutenant Bertie Blue Tit, RIP.
Since I moved back here in 2008, we have always had a plethora of Magpies. Six in next door's Lawsonia, eight in the firs over the wall at the end of our garden. Many's the pitched battled waged overhead, and indeed, on our lawn as the Over the Hill gang took on the Seaview Eight. Magpies and Hoodie Crows would gather from all over the hill to watch the great aerial battles, sometimes joining in. No doubt a political manoeuver to incur favour from whichever side won. We are reduced to three magpies from the Over the Hill gang and one lone Seaview clan magpie who sits sunning himself on the grass forlornly. No breathern to keep an eye out for predators.
The relief from the Siewview Apartments [fir tree] residents - i.e., The Woodpigeon family, is palpable, the numbers of woodpigeon, blackbird and thrush has escalated dramatically. You could be in danger of loosing an eye from a low flying Great Tit. The Long Tailed tits, heretofore twelve in number, now rejoice in a squadron of 18.
Last night OH, YD and I sat out on the back patio until ten to one in the morning. A mild, humid night, we investigated the contents of a bottle of Merlot Pinot Grigio - perfectly satisfactory! Check, the latest young fox to grace our garden, strolled onto the patio around eleven, bypassed us within 2' and, not finding any juicy tidbits, passed on by. She has no fear of us; her grandmother would nearly vanish up her own brush at the mere sniff of a human, times - they are a changing.
At 2p.m., Torquil and Dean, the two donkeys bray their contentment as Old Alex arrives with a tasty morsel or two for them. The sound of their ectasy carries far and wide and can lift you out of your skin with shock, and yes, that IS Torquil and not Torville. May read the name Torquil in a Georgette Heyes novel many years ago and decided it would be a nice name for a donkey. No comment!
The elderberries are in full bloom and roses are prolific everywhere, Mum's Gertrude Gekyll is coming out and I lookforward to a sterling display. Apparently all the rain during the winter has made for a great Rose year. I have nearly achieved a dream - roses 'round the hall door. I took a cutting of a dog rose from down at the cowshed, liberally dowsed it with comfrey tea and it has raced up through the Pyrricantha. By next summer it will be possible to bring it up and over the door to meet with a newly planted Albertine rose.
Fox gloves abound this year. From one seedy looking character in'08, I have seven, self seeded. The bed under the front bedroom window is beginning to look like a proper cottage garden flowerbed. Antirriniums, foxglove, bizzy lizzie, campanula, poppies, wall flowers and pansies. We will get there. The three year subplan of a five year plan is beginning to come to fruition.
I have kept one flower bed solidly and forever Mums. Bit by bit OH and I are making our changes. Yd has set up a bed of her own, boy! wouldn't Mum be thrilled? YD is the last person she would have thought would take to gardening. See Mum, told you so!
The cabbages took off so well and the lettuce in the veg garden that our friends are starting to grow white tails and whiskers and, in truth, I am getting a bit weary of salad teas, lunches etc. OH will plant slightly less next summer and probably less will grow!
Aha! The long tailed tits have arrived in the Blue Cedar. Time for afternoon tea. they always land promptly at 4p.m.