I said a couple of days ago that I hadn’t heard the dawn chorus this year. I put it down to the loss of perches and feeding stations for the birds in the neighbourhood.
However, this morning, as I lay awake between 2.00am and 2.30am, I heard an owl. It was obviously close by but I don’t know where. The night was otherwise silent so it sounded really clear and really close.
It’s such a haunting, spooky sound.
A few mornings ago as I was lying awake at 6.00am, wondering whether to get up, I heard a bird singing. And it occurred to me that I haven’t heard the dawn chorus at all his year.
It’s too late in the year now as birds tend to sing the dawn chorus in Spring when they are defending territory but, earlier in the year, I didn’t hear it at all.
Until about six years ago we had several large shrubs in our front garden. One was so large it almost qualified as a tree. We had them all removed to make way for,the block paving of the drive. After they had gone, I realised that this was where our early morning birds had congregated and now, by their removal, we had deprived them of their perches. And not only their perches but also a valuable food source – the berries in the winter and the insects the birds fed on throughout the year.
As I look out of my window now I see that so many trees in our road have been lost. For houses with such small gardens it’s surprising how many trees we used to accommodate. But, as properties have changed hands, new owners have wanted to make their mark and, in many cases, have ripped the garden out and started again. No-one else has turned their garden into a car park as we have but neither have they planted trees or shrubs to replace what’s been lost.
I was up early this morning to listen to my nephew again on Radio 4. This time, he was talking about the woodlark.
I have failed with my list of things to do in June. We did attend the concert we had tickets for but I didn’t finish the book, On Chesil Beach by Ian MacEwan, nor did I finish the blankets. I did lots of light reading but didn’t seem to have the concentration to read anything meaningful and I’ve spent too much time crocheting with thicker yarn and hooks to be able now to enjoy using a thin yarn and small hook. I must steel myself to get it all done in July.
I’ve recently posted about things that make me happy. Well, here’s something that’s made me decidedly unhappy. I posted a week ago that my new shoes had been delivered. I discovered today that Seasalt, where I bought them from, have got them in their sale at half price – £70 reduced to £35. Even at £35 they’d have been the most expensive shoes I’ve ever bought! And I haven’t even worn the damned things yet! So I’m quietly fuming.
Marbles came in for an hour this evening. He sat on my lap for all that time, just quietly purring in his sleep. It’s so soothing.
My nephew has mental health issues. He won’t mind me saying this as he’s very open about it and will talk about it to anyone who’ll listen.
After a particularly bad day at work a couple of years ago, someone suggested to him that he tried bird watching as a way to relieve stress. He took to it like a duck to water (no pun intended) and, combined with his love of photography, is building up quite a following on Instagram and Twitter. He’s also been invited to write a couple of pieces for birding magazines.
The thing he’s most proud of, though, is setting up a group called Bird Therapy which promotes the benefits of bird watching on mental health. In April, he spoke about Bird Therapy at an event in Cambridge called ‘Earth Optimism Day’. He spoke for an hour and a half and, at the end, a gentleman in the audience asked to be introduced to my nephew as he had been so impressed and wanted to discuss the issue further. My nephew agreed to the introduction (as I said, he’ll speak to anyone about it who’ll listen) and found himself shaking hands with Sir David Attenborough! Radio 4 was also at the event recording some segments for use in a program they were putting together. The producer had listened to my nephew’s presentation and asked if he would like to contribute to their ‘Tweet of the Day” series – a two minute piece each day where a bird watcher, famous or otherwise, talks about a particular bird they’ve encountered and a short clip of birdsong is played. My nephew recorded three pieces; one has already been featured and a second one is to be played later this month.The family is just so proud of him.
I decided yesterday that the first day of the Summer is today, 1st June.
I got up early to listen to my nephew, a keen bird watcher who writes about the therapeutic benefits of bird watching on mental health, present ‘Tweet of the Day’ on Radio 4. It was only a two minute segment in which we heard some bird song from the Skylark and Joe talking about a walk he took during which he encountered six of the birds. He spoke beautifully and we could really hear the passion he has for his bird watching. A Proud Auntie Moment indeed.As I was up so early, I took a few quiet moments to just gaze out of the window and observe the early morning light and sky. We live in a fairly rural area so it’s always very peaceful at that time of day.My plans for June have started well. I had my own quiet early morning celebration of the start of Summer, I’ve started reading a good book, and I’ve done a couple more rounds of one of my blankets.No sign of Marbles today; he’s been about and has eaten his food but I haven’t seen him. I don’t like days when I don’t see him.
I shouldn’t complain but the heat today has been quite oppressive. It has left me feeling very tired. It’ll be an early night for me tonight.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, or mid-year resolutions. I don’t even have long term goals. I do, however, set out at the beginning of each month a short list of things to achieve that month. Here are my things to do in June.
Celebrate the start of Summer. There is some debate at the start of every season whether the season starts on the first day of the relevant month, i.e. March, June, September and December, or at the equinox or solstice. I’m opting for 1st June as the start of Summer. I have good reason for being up early on Thursday (my nephew is delivering a short segment on Radio 4 at 05.58 on the song of the Skylark) so I will use my early rising as an opportunity to enjoy the sunrise over the rooftops and fields I can see from my bedroom window
Go to a concert. This is a bit of a cheat as we’ve had the concert tickets since the end of January and the concert just happens to be in June. We’re going to see Leo Sayer perform in Huddersfield town hall. I wouldn’t call my husband a fan of Leo Sayer but he does enjoy his music and as the tickets went on sale in time for his 60th birthday my sons decided to get them as a birthday treat. Although, thinking about it, I ordered the tickets and the boys have never paid me for them
Finish two crochet WIPs. Specifically the two near identical blankets I intend to give as Christmas presents
Have my hair cut. This might seem a surprising thing to find on the list as most people have their hair cut on a regular basis. Not me, though. When I was told in December 2015 that my cancer had come out of hiding and was spreading, I knew that the chemotherapy would cause me to lose my hair. Again. So I last had my hair cut in October/November 2015 and it has taken until now to grow back enough to now need cutting
Read a good book. I generally read psychological thrillers or crime novels. While these are a step up from the ‘chic-lit’ I was reading when my treatment left me too tired to concentrate, they couldn’t be described as classical or ‘modern classical’ literature. Currently on my bedside table (or Kindle) I have On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I’ve already read On Chesil Beach (which I can remember only vaguely) and Brooklyn (which I can remember even more vaguely) but I’ve never read ATLWCS. I think I’ll start with On Chesil Beach