Early Summer on the Edge

Doh, Mi-soh-la-soh *doh… ti/la/soh/mi/doh.

The weird spring has given us no young toads. The weather frightened the bees and, burned the buds from the Birches with icy wind, the unusual sequence of cold, wet, hot, wet, dry and, wet again, has delivered crazily overgrown Umbelliferae over a carpet of lesser grass-proof weeds, it’s also bestowed a merry cohort of Blackbirds, very many blackbirds indeed. They squabble a lot and evidently mate successfully, for there are treefuls of fat, torpid babies to tempt the Sparrowhawks. Meanwhile, in between feeding them beak-to beak, the glossy males find the energy to sing their beautiful well-known Blackbird song.  All save one eccentric whose liquid voice runs up and down a melody very close to – I think it’s the second subject? – a tune from Camille Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony.

         I’ve known other wild birds copy sounds they’ve heard; when there were abundant Starlings, they learned to drive me mad by mimicking the burble of a little frog-shaped telephone I’d bought in Singapore, sending me sprinting to a silent instrument whenever they felt like it; but Impersonator-Blackbirds?


There he goes again, Ta da te DAH diddlediddleum…


Listening to their music and the ripple of the ocean far below – so close to the shipping lanes that there really are Ferries at the bottom of the garden – one can apply Gravity to the Deckchair, elevate one’s feet and, in the words of Dobie Grey, Drift Away, but it’s only a month to Midsummer when the  The Labyrinth will be, for a few short hours, Open. With a few furlongs of paths to weed and, twice the same in hedges to clip and argue back into place after the spectacular overgrowth, leisure will now not just take a back seat but, ride standing on the running-board.   

                                                                                                             JXC 2019