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Sunday 19 April 2015

A time to sit

I returned from UK at the beginning of this week and went back to work on Tuesday, anticipating a very busy week with not much time to sit!

My time spent amongst nature in my Dad’s garden seems a very long time ago now although only a week has passed by, a very busy week.

Before flying home from England I spent some time with the family of a client with whom I had worked some thirty years ago, who died just before Christmas. I had been invited to read at her Memorial Service which turned out to be something very special and I will write about it here later.

I arrived back in Germany on Monday evening and had to be at work in the Kindergarten group the following morning by eight-thirty, I was needed in the school group in the afternoon and had two adults' sessions after that, closing the day with our second conductive music session.

And so the week carried on in this busy mode until Thursday afternoon.

After working in the city on Thursday at InBestForm, the inclusive, disabled and non-disabled group for elderly clients, I was able to be at home a couple of hours earlier than my norm and decided to take my cup of tea out on my balcony for a sit and a bit of communing with nature, just as I had been doing with my Dad in Norwich.

Spring had sprung this week

I had cycled home on Wednesday in a 25°C heat wave and Thursday was still warm, so there was no need to wrap myself up in a blanket as I had done when last out on the balcony before Easter. I settled down to enjoy my first opportunity to sit amongst my spring flowers and listen to the birds singing.

As I sat back with tea and a pile of out-of-date and unread Guardian Weeklies I started to snooze.  But I was brought back to life when I realized that there seemed to be more collared doves hopping around and cooing than I was used to. Gabor and Giselle had been my customary companions in the early spring, having nested in ‘my tree’ many times since I have lived here. But on Thursday evening there were four doves, two babies had joined in the cooing and were eager to be fed. By Saturday evening, having been huddled together at noon they were nowhere to be seen, perhaps already having flown the nest, or maybe they just made it to a different branch. By Sunday there were certainly gone, Gabor and Giselle too, off on holiday I expect for a rest!

On Thursday I had spotted their delicate platform-like nest only a few feet away from me, just above eye level. I was so sorry to have missed all their comings and goings over the past three weeks, but there was to be a lot more action for me to enjoy. While the doves were busy feeding to one side of me a couple of blackbirds started hopping around in the tree to the front. It seemed that after all I was about to see some nesting action for Mr. and Mrs. Blackbird were very busy collecting nesting materials, their mouths full of moss and muddy, leafy material!

But where was the building site? Some detective work was called for.

It did not take long for my eyes to scan my tiny balcony and discover the blackbird’s nest tucked down low, behind my table, beside the empty flower pots and troughs. 
By Friday morning there was a definite hollow in the earth and a little bit of moss had appeared. I decided to lend them a helping hand in their search for muddy building materials in order to prevent them emptying my flower troughs. I had learnt from my Mum what blackbirds like as she always left out a tray of soil and compost on the patio, that she watered regularly. This stopped the birds pulling up her seedlings.

It worked well for her and it worked for me too. I am surprised how often the tray needed topping up. All my plants are still firmly rooted and my neighbour’s patio below is not covered with mud.

I am really looking forward to the next days, waiting in expectation of the first egg to be laid. After that there will be a patient wait for the chicks to hatch and then a week or two of feeding frenzy before the birds fledge and fly off.

The female blackbird was happily hopping around my feet this lunchtime as I turned my chair and hat another sit in the sun. I will continue to join them on my balcony for ever-lengthening spells so that they get used to me. I am sure that once the eggs are laid and the birds are sitting on them I will be ignored and I can have a bird’s-eye view. I also hope that I can be home early on a few evenings in the following weeks so I can be part of the action.



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