Apparently the starling population has reduced by 70% in recent years, placing this noisy and gregarious bird on something called the Red List.
You wouldn’t believe it from the sheer number arguing over the suet balls in our back garden. Three at a time are attacking the food supply, battling for supremacy with blood-curdling screams, desperate flashing of wings and (though I can’t
quite see from my position in the arm-chair, safely out of the fray) probably doing a bit of judicious clawing in the eyes as well. Two more are sitting atop the bird feeder, raucously egging the others on, while four more are perched all around the bird bath,
waiting their turn. They are bobbing up and down in happy anticipation of the moment when a space becomes free and they can step up to the feeder. It’s reminiscent of Hitchcock's The Birds in our back garden. I can tell you, it's not
going to be pretty...
Starlings always remind me of the Teddy Boys of my youth, with their skin tight trousers and black leather jackets, studded with silver.
My Mum used to speak of them in hushed tones, to make it clear that we should, at all costs, steer clear of them. Not that we ever actually saw a Teddy Boy, apart from the lad down the road who tried hard but could never quite conjure up the required level
of quiet menace.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time watching my feathered friends today, as I am still feeling rubbish. Watching the birds stops me looking
at the little pile of ironing sitting on the sofa pleading silently: “Iron me! Iron me!” I don’t usually ignore a cry for help but sometimes you have to put yourself first, you know. Also I have noticed that the pile is slowly but surely
diminishing as either Mr B or I decide that nobody will notice if a particular garment hasn’t been ironed. If this goes on, by the end of the week I will have finished the ironing without ever getting the ironing board – or the iron
– out of the hall cupboard. This could be described as progress.
It looks as if our plans for my birthday outing tomorrow are scuppered. They were
quite modest little plans, all things considered. We were going to travel to Lewes to visit Anne of Cleves House (regular readers may remember that it was shut for the winter when we last spent time in Lewes, celebrating Mr B’s birthday.) Then we were
going to have lunch in Bill’s so that I could compare Bill’s in Lewes with Bill’s in Wimbledon. Are all Bills the same, I ask myself?
Anyway, I have decided to move my birthday on
by a day. After all, my mother was always convinced that I had been born on 7th June, not the 6th. The official time recorded for my birth was two minutes to midnight and Mum said the clock was slow. It could be useful, being able
to pick and choose between the two dates, I wonder why I never thought of it before. Anyway I'm sure Anne of Cleves' house will still be there another day. I doubt she's thinking of moving, long time dead as she is.
So it is perfectly possible that I may spend my birthday watching the Teddy Boys out in the garden (Mr B is buying them more suet as they have polished off the last lot in double quick time) and endeavouring not to sneeze
so loudly and explosively. Mr B says that nobody has to sneeze like I do and that I should be perfectly capable of controlling myself. I'll try, I mumble and he says, predictably, that I am very trying.
Today he bought me roses, the most beautiful multi-coloured roses in red, orange and yellow – plus four boxes of Kleenex balsam mansize tissues in a “new compact box.”
Greater love hath no man...