Slow start to summer

The tapping noise sounds desperate. I look up from my chores to see a small bird tapping at the bird feeder. It resembles a woodpecker but much smaller and I recognise it from the other day when I saw it scuttling up the oak tree. I thought it was a rodent initially by the way it moved and then saw the wings. It sounds annoyed, as if the pecking is not producing the desired effect. The peanuts are not emptying as fast as it used to and I wonder if the birds are not enjoying the current batch. Maybe I should try something else next time I buy bird food. The magpies are using my pond as a birdbath and having a great time splashing and playing in the water. As long as they don’t start relieving themselves in the pond, I’m fine with it and I ignore them. The children are not that charitable and want to be let out to scare the squirrels away. They dash around the garden and at one point I see them peering over the fence at the neighbour’s house, probably looking to see where the squirrel has gone. The promised sunshine is yet to materialise and the day starts off cloudy. 

A cousin’s son is getting married today in Bolton. A marriage we were supposed to attend last year and got postponed for better days. The better days never materialised, so they are going ahead regardless. The children had their outfits ready and now have outgrown them without being able to wear it anywhere. The wedding is being live streamed. I initially feel that this is the perfect number for an intimate wedding but as the day progresses the thirty guests seem sparse in the vast hall. I forgot how long North Indian weddings can go on for. The outfit changes by the couple and the girl’s relatives seem wasted with no one to see but for future photo memories. I am all for small weddings with intimate family members but this doesn’t seem right. The groom’s younger cousins all seem to have missed out on a very special day in their lives.

Lakshmi has a ballet rehearsal later on today. She has only attended one lesson so far and the teacher has already enrolled her into a show. Either the teacher is desperate for want of enough participants or Lakshmi is very talented. Lakshmi has a natural ability for performing and dancing. Where she’s yet to catch up with Lavinia when it comes to pool activities she makes up for it in other areas. So I hope it is the latter reason. Her dad comes to pick her up. Lavinia was supposed to stay but she changed her mind and left with them. My busy afternoon turns into a lazy evening.

I hear the desperate tapping sound once again. A few minutes later the bird’s family joins it. I see the bird deposit some food into the beak of one of the gathered group and they fly back to the top of the tree. I look up the bird and find out that they are Nuthatches. They don’t belong to the woodpecker family but are described as being similar to them and I was surprised to read the description of them ‘shimmying up’ a tree, which is exactly what I saw the other day. 

The girls and I spotted a pigeon guarding her nest earlier as we had our picnic in the garden. It seems the birds are giving my artificial bird’s nest which is nailed to one of the oak trees a wide berth and building their own ones. I don’t blame them. The squirrels have easy access to them and they don’t look very safe to me if you are a bird looking for somewhere to nest. Lavinia tells me about the pterodactyl eggs. In her excitement I don’t quite grasp what she’s trying to say. Lakshmi explains. Education from cartoons is not what it used to be half a century ago.

A light aircraft whirrs past and wakes me up from my thoughts. I have a thick cardigan on but my feet are exposed. I’m lying in the shade and yet don’t feel cold. The first day this year I notice the warmth of the sunshine, little luxuries, like the olive oil Alcira’s friend dropped off yesterday from her farm in Spain. She came in her electric scooter with some samples to taste and gave me a unhurried explanation about everything I needed to know about the oil. Like balsamic vinegar I find out over the years that there are luxuries you can indulge in which doesn’t cost the earth and I can’t wait to try it out. Ever since my truffle infused olive oil ran out I’ve been on the lookout for something similar. With European travel curtailed I try the supermarkets but their products don’t compare. Perhaps this evening, now the children are not here I will try them out. In the meantime I close my eyes and drift off into the dreamy world of a late afternoon siesta soaking up the sunshine. 

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