House martins, I mean. The other day there were at least 40 whirling around the garden plus the odd swallow that had joined in. I went out to find about 10 clinging to the gable wall next to the nest the tree sparrows had appropriated this summer.
Amazing - so I emailed the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) and got the reply that this happened and was probably older birds showing prospective nesting sites to young birds before the left for Africa.
This is a composite panorama of eight images taken from the seat by the table at the west end of the house. The distortion, a sort of fish-eye effect, is not how it really is - the seat back and paving edge are straight. The thug on the left, so pink and splendid, will have to go. Unfortunately it is another one that comes back from a tiny root.
Now to a family portrait. This is Ewey.
Ewey was found when clearing the jungle in the early days of the garden, was neglected on top of a rhododendron stump and has now been moved to a feature position on top of a post.
I talk of figs and courgettes/marrows, plums and damsons (they are ripening) but other fruit are wonderful such as these Rosa rugosa hips - enough itching powder for a whole village!
Other things in the garden are much more delicate, especially the flowers on the eucryphia - so pretty, and on a tree.
I have mowed the lawns and went out this morning to find they need doing again.
We have rats under the feeders by the shed - yet more wildlife but not so welcome, especially to R.
And then my day is ruined by the mess in Syria. I have a copy of TE Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom - nothing much changes out there - tribal, religious, political conflict and no regard for human life outside their own narrow grouping. When there was the trouble in Libya I offered Gadaffi a cup of tea and a sensible chat in the garden (he did not come sadly)(could not make it) but I am not sure I want Assad here. Mind you he may well be just a figurehead for his tribal group.
There you are - someone who knows nowt about it pontificating profusely.
And there are fires threatening Yosemite. I suppose that is nothing new. Sequoia need fire to germinate their minute seeds.
Time for a pome -
Somewhere around four thousand years ago
the Great Bonsai was born of flame:
a seed fell two hundred feet onto charred earth
As time turned, the tree grew - massive, magnificent,
though not the tallest. Man came, felled other timber
but the huge trunks shattered when they dropped,
Then, John from Dunbar spoke fire for the sequoia,
saved those pillars that held the high Sierra sky,
stopped that blue cathedral roof from falling,
And now we can stand, heads back,
and stare up at its many immense limbs,
and gaze into the forest canopy at its crown
And I am here, and I am gone,
seventy or more rings of the Great Bonsai
if I am lucky, of no roots, born of a different fire,
So we are here today, almost gone yesterday.
John from Dunbar is John Muir, born Dunbar. second cousin of my grandfather John Hay. I know - a big boast - but why not. I am chuffed to bit to think we share the odd gene or two. Mind you it might be an ODD gene.
I have cut some blackcurrant sticks for a friend PB to give to him later and must dig up any small unwanted trees I can find to pot up and take to Herefordshire for the Orcop Hill plantation.
So much to do in the garden and so little will to do it.
Actually my first name is Will and I do not think I would be described as little.