Archive for July, 2013

The Killing House

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2013 by David Palmer

Despite quite a lot happening with the family, I feel I should start this blog with an explanation of the title to allay any fears that tragedy has struck any family member. We have always had a problem with birds flying into our windows. I don’t remember it happening at any of the other homes that we have lived in, though on second thoughts I wouldn’t give a great deal of credence to my rapidly extinguishing neurons and such residual memories. However, over the last few weeks we have been treated to the thunk of a head-butting bird on a daily basis (and more). Regularly Picking up the little corpses is a sad task that at present surpasses those headless little stiffs that Lulu (next door cat) scatters around the garden. Most get deposited in the bin, some in the river. One that went missing is particularly upsetting. One morning, having gone out to water the green house, I became aware of a distress call by a female black bird on top of our neighbour’s chimney, I assumed a cat was around and she was warning her feathered friends. Not paying a great deal of attention I busied myself with my daily gardening tasks and then went into town for a couple of hours. On my return, there she was still calling from the same spot. As you do (well I do, and I have seen Sue do it as well), I went to ask her what was the matter. As I stood by the pool holding a one way conversation I noticed black feathers strewn on the grass. I guessed it was her mate. I guessed it was the same pair that I have been watching hunting for worms on the lawn over the last 3 years. I guessed it was the same birds that raided my blue-berries and have caused me to net the strawberries. I wasn’t glad and I shared in her grief. She was still on the chimney that evening when the sun went down. She was still calling when I retired to bed that night. The following morning we were woken up by her cries and I again returned to the pool to console the little creature and hunt for the body of her partner. Crawling under the conifer hedge gave no joy and lifting the leaves of the cabbages and finger searching behind the black currants proved fruitless. I returned to the pool and apologised and again told her that I was sorry. She was still there calling well into the afternoon, and then disappeared. I would probably not have mentioned any of this in my blog, except for what happened next. Late that evening, as I was watering the greenhouse, I found a fledgling blackbird sitting by the door looking and calling to me. I gauged that it was not far off flying and a few more days of life would be sufficient to gain strength and feathers to do so. Not sure what to do I was pleased when I saw the female blackbird fly across the garden. It dawned on me that while she had been grieving on the chimney she had not fed the little sprog and it had left the nest through hunger. I picked it up and placed it on the branch of the apple tree (it didn’t mind), hoping that mum would bring it a few worms if I left the scene. I worried about it all night. The following morning, I was heartened to find that the bird was no longer on the branch and after a through search of the surrounding area drew a blank, I felt relief. Much later that afternoon Sue was tidying up at the back of the rockery when she came across its stiff cold little body. The previous night I should have put him in a box and fed him worms.

In contrast we have a pair of bullying crows who have prevented our resident pigeons (those that are left) from bringing up any off-spring. They disappeared a while ago and the pigeons took the opportunity and laid a couple of eggs. I enjoy talking to the proud parents each morning whilst they take it turns sitting on the nest (been doing it for years now, and haven’t yet been given a certificate), I always ask after the eggs. I knew the crows were back when I found both eggs, cracked and eaten under the nest when I was mowing the lawn one day.

I have one good story to tell. Returning from my morning bike ride I witnessed a small bird strike my study window and fall to the ground. After putting my bike away I checked on the creature and it was alive. They don’t all die. Often we hear the thunk, see the imprint on the window and when we venture out to see, it has gone. This one was dazed, so I placed him on the bird table and made a cup of coffee. I kept an eye on him all morning, he didn’t move off the table. After lunch I soaked some bread in water and went out to feed him. As I placed the dish on the table and took his photo, he flew off. I think it is always best to have a happy ending.
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The Lions beat (no they stuffed) the Wallabies in the final test. I watched the match at the Angel with the usual crowd and for once it was easy viewing for most of the match, I didn’t choke on breakfast once!

That afternoon Sue and I went to a house-warming party in Desborough. An old friend (Head of Loatlands School) who I had been to De Montfort Uni. with many years ago (also avid Tigers supporter) had retired and moved house. As we arrived outside the house, we saw Brigitte drive by and promised to visit her and Jim afterwards as they lived around the corner. We left Desborough that evening feeling quite stuffed.

I had my 6 months Dentist appointment and had the joy of a filling. Afterwards we had a family BBQ and were treated when an aircraft flew over to celebrate Forces Day.
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The weather has been excellent this past couple of weeks. The trigger for such good fortune was the Rothwells leaving the country to seek sunnier climes. On the 3rd July I took Nan to see the summer concert at Farndon Fields School (I dropped her off and picked her up) and afterwards crammed all the Rothwells and 3 cases into my Fiesta and took them to East Midlands Airport. I wore my sunglasses all the way up the motorway, the sun was that fierce. I waved goodbye as the wheeled their cases into Departures. On my return I spent most of the rest of that afternoon in the pool (to cool off). Since they have been away I have (for once) used the pool every day and Jamie has had friends around also to cool off.

I have been attacking my phone box. I originally bought it to use a shower for the pool, but when we had a shower installed near the back door it didn’t seem to be important to complete it, so I hadn’t and used it to store the pool equipment. I have stripped it all out and have nearly repainted inside and out. I have been getting up at 6am to begin the work as it is too hot by the afternoon to work in such a cramped space. I am pleased with what I have achieved so far, despite taking several lumps out of my head, several new cuts on my fingers and ruined a good pair of shorts (don’t tell Sue).

Sue and I went to the theatre to see The Odd Couple. Very entertaining. Harborough certainly does have some talented actors. Probably a result of the good schooling they used to get.

The following day I drove up to Thurcroft with Peter to mow the lawns and tidy up. I drove up and back in the day, but we did manage an afternoon walk around Ulley reservoir. Peter has been helping me with Charlotte’s allotment (while away), we have completed the chicken run and dug over the rest of the allotment (it was harder than concrete). We attacked it several times and before victory was ours we had retreat to drown our sorrows in the local pub to recover.
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Last Saturday we joined Jim and Brigitte at a new Turkish restaurant in Rothwell to celebrate Jim’s birthday (it was a surprise). His daughter Sarah and her husband joined us. The meal was very authentic, we were impressed and shall return again.

Sue and I also managed to catch a film: Hitchcock. Enjoyable, though I think the sweets that Sue kept passing to me slightly edged it.

The following day Jamie and I drove to Silverstone. Jamie had been given a days Rallying by the family as a birthday present. It was a very hot day and the circuit was very dusty. There was 10 on the course and the cars were Subaru. I spent my time watching, photographing and videoing while Jamie thrashed his way around the course, bringing up trails of orange dust. It looked good. Jamie remarked the other course members were older than himself and suffering from mid-life crisis, glad I had not joined him.
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I went for a walk with John Lee around Kings Cliffe. A very hot day and memorable for the cherry tree that we found on a woodland trail that was laden with huge, black, juicy cherries. I must have eaten 5lb of them before reluctantly moving on! I was surprised I managed to put away steak and ale pie, chips and peas in the pub afterwards. We passed Rowan Atkinson’s house on our route, but he was out in his McLaren somewhere, probably planting beans.
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We have been out several times for lunch with Nan, and she has been out several times withe inmates Huntingdon Gardens. Now that the Ashes are on she is in seventh heaven.
Sarah is still travelling and appears to be having a great time. We keep in touch through Facebook, Skype and occasionally she phones.
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