Sunday, 23 May 2010

Summertime (and the living is easy..... when the chicks dig you)

There is some debate about exactly when Summer starts and finishes and different definitions exist. In the Northern Hemisphere Summer is most commonly agreed to be the whole months of June, July and August.

However, in my opinion, the start of summer proper can be more accurately pinpointed. The first waft of seared animal with accompanying smoke, the early morning sound of garden power tools, the unedifying sight of a pale, white persons torso with scorched pink areas are all good indicators that the season has turned. All of those things occurred yesterday, so I can therefore formally announce that Summer has indeed started.

Since selling our house in Didsbury and moving to our Apartment in Cheadle, the only thing we have really missed is our garden. Don't get me wrong, I was never much of a gardener. In fact, I used to pay someone to maintain my garden, in order to ensure the survival of the plant life in it. Both Mel and I have a remarkable ability to kill any plant no matter how hard we try not to.

So in addition to borrowing my sister-in-laws dog to validate walking in the country, we also regularly cajole her into holding impromptu barbecues just so we can laze around in someone else's garden. Yesterday, having studied the weekend weather forecast, we were up early buying Pimms, red wine and raw animal. Mel made a Tiramisu to add a level of sophistication to proceedings and I put on my special barbecue pants. We were banging on Penny's door by 11.30am.

By 3pm we had demolished the Pimms, the associated mint and fruit foliage accompaniment providing a valuable contribution to my five a day. Cheap Champagne was opened followed by red wine and at some point in the afternoon we remembered to put the barbecue on. The day was fiercely hot (27 degrees) and I found I had a thirst that was almost impossible to quench. I did however, try valiantly. Inevitably, this meant more trips to the toilet and as the day wore on the bathroom seemed further and further away and in the end I chose the outdoor option down the side of Penny's house. (Classy, I know).

Whilst 'feeding the fish' I spotted something moving in the undergrowth and my ears were assailed by a shrill chirping. On close inspection I discovered a tiny little Blue Tit chick struggling through the grass and repeatedly banging its head up against the composter. Being the nature lover that I am, I picked it up and went to show it to the girls. Mel didn't want to see it as she hates to see any animal in distress and after a brief look Penny chose to Google the RSPB web site for any help or guidance they might be able to offer.

I noticed a Blue Tit hovering around and after watching it for a few minutes noticed it entering and leaving a nest, in a hole in the brickwork of the house. Ten minutes later I found myself stood wobbling atop a set of step ladders and taking my life in my own hands I successfully returned the chick to it's nest.

It's not every day I get to save the planet and I celebrated my ornithological miracle with another bottle of wine returning periodically to ensure the chick had not fallen or been evicted again. I think both Mel and Penny were impressed by my oneness with nature though I do have a hazy memory of someone saying "will you shut up about that bloody bird".

I'm considering persuading Penny to hold another barbecue today just so I can check on it's well being.

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