Before I write this post I want to say something to put it into perspective.
About twenty five years ago I found myself in a difficult position. After a couple of redundancies and having to take a low paid job I faced having my house repossessed and I had to leave my family in Yorkshire and go to work in London.
It wasn’t the best part of London, it was south of the river, Deptford, New Cross and The Old Kent Road. I spent twelve years there, I managed a couple of companies in that time, we were very successful. Our success was simply built on hard work. My men and myself worked very long hours.
I would return home from a thirty six hour shift (real work not doctors hours) hardly able to walk and with my boots full of blood. You remember these things.
One day a fellow came to me, his name was Mike, he was a big Jamaican man with a constant smile and he was a good friend. “Can I make a phone call, Col?
“Yes , of course. Is everything okay?”
The Deptford tower blocks were not great. He told me that a guy had been shot in his block last night and it was gang related, so people were going round the block kicking doors in and asking questions. He just wanted to check that his wife and children were still okay.
That one sticks in my mind. How can anybody live like that?
I just thought, “Mike! Why on earth did you come to work? Go home protect your family, Jeez”
Everyone doesn’t live on a beautiful farm. All Right? I know. And they still don’t today.
I live in a beautiful place and I understand that and appreciate it.
I live very closely with the birds. I feed birds in the garden and it is full of Woodpeckers and Goldfinches and all sorts of beauty but round by my door, in the farm yard, it is the Swallows and Martins
I opened my door yesterday and they started to mob me. They don’t like me being so close to their nests and they swoop at me and fly inches in front of my face.
This is my nest!
I live here. There is nothing that I can do about it. The air is full of Swallows and Martins and it is beautiful and I can’t capture this on camera. You need bigger, faster eyes than my camera has got.
From the door of my flat I saw them gathering mud.
These are my Mud Eaters. There are dozens of them.
The House Martin survives on a diet of pure mud. They like eating nothing better than mud pie 🙂
That is not exactly true, they are taking the mud to build and repair their nests. I have tried helping them by taking out buckets of water and creating mud but apparently it has to be at just the right consistency, wet mud won’t do.
They are very beautiful, busy little birds.
I have just stepped out of my front door to have a cigarette. It is still quite early here, 8 am, the Swallows woke me at three forty five. They mobbed me just now. It is like when a pretty girl is really angry with you and all that you can see is how beautiful she is, it makes them mad. What can I do? I live here.
Last summer I focussed on the Swallows and we didn’t see much of the Martins. This year I have a Martins nest just outside of my door.
This is my front door
The most immediate Swallows (Fred and Rosa) nest in the passage at the bottom of my steps. There are a whole bunch of others that nest in the outbuildings to the left. The Martins are nesting in the eaves above the Swallows.
Last year I concentrated on the Swallows, they are lovely but I was thinking that this year I should spend more time with the Martins, they are also lovely.
I know that there are readers shouting, “What about a Moth Trap!” There is just so much that needs to be done. I need a team of scientists to move in with me and start recording everything but my lease says, “No Pets!” Let’s do the House Martins and insects and botany this year.
There is a Barn Owl in the fields behind the farm, now that would be a challenge.
I know exactly how lucky I am as I wake up this morning. Let’s take full advantage. 🙂