We have been celebrating triumph after triumph at our Mythical Maze desk in the local library.
Five weeks into
the Summer Reading Challenge and lots of youngsters have been arriving at our Volunteers Desk clutching their latest library books – and leaving in triumph with their certificate and “gold” medal. I love to see those shining faces,
so pleased and so proud of themselves. So far around 170 children have completed the challenge to read six books over the course of three visits to the library. Mind you, that means there are still getting on for 700 more triumphant visits to come –
we volunteers are going to be very, very busy over the next few weeks.
Last year, and the year before, we weren’t allowed to affix ribbon or string on the
medals so we couldn't hang them around the recipients’ necks, Olympics-style. We volunteers all felt this was a great pity as we all like a Touch of the Theatricals. Something to do with Health and Safety, we were told. This year it seems
Health and Safety has had a re-think and we have been supplied with a reel of red ribbon – the kind you use to tie up Christmas presents – so one of our tasks in odd, quiet moments is to thread ribbon onto the medals awaiting presentation
to deserving young readers.
Grandson Jack has also triumphed with a fantastic set of GCSE results. Mr B and I are extremely proud of him even though we don’t
have a medal on a piece of bright red Christmas ribbon to hang around his neck. He is doubtless quite thankful for that. Like all the best triumphs, it comes as a result of much hard work and perspiration, making it doubly well-deserved. Sister Hazel
has nabbed a couple of early subjects, their cousin Katie has totted up her AS Levels, ready for the Big A Level Year to come – and Facebook is full of congratulatory messages marking their many friends’ triumphs. Bravo to all of them, I say.
Sadly, among the triumphs I have been celebrating, a disaster. Murder most foul has been committed – and in our back garden, too. Out on the lawn a major kerfuffle
as two birds engage in brutal warfare. From my vantage point in the living room, I can’t quite see what’s going on but I wade down the garden in my slippers, like an Avenging Angel, frantically waving my knitting (this being all I have
to hand.) The murderer flies off when it sees me coming, leaving the poor victim struggling for life on the lawn. It is one of the pair of collared doves which have lived in our garden for ever so long. I am devastated. The poor thing is still just alive but
beyond hope. Its black eyes blink at me; its soft chest rises up and down in panic. It is so beautiful – and so broken.
I rush to find Mr B to ask
him what I should do and he tells me I will have to put it out of its misery. How he imagines soft-hearted me will ever bring myself to do this, he doesn’t say. But before I can steel myself to become an Angel of Mercy, rather than one of the avenging
variety, a magpie swoops down and finishes the job in a few scary seconds. I can hardly bear it, it is so totally, utterly brutal. All that is left is a scattering of soft, grey feathers.
I am in a state of nervy readiness in case the Feathered Murderer sets its sights on the remaining collared dove which keeps wandering about around the bird feeder as if searching for its mate. It looks much smaller, somehow, diminished by grief, perhaps
– or maybe I am just being fanciful. I am poised ready to make a dash for the back door if I see so much as a single claw raised in anger.
Triumph and disaster.
What did good old Rudyard say: “If you can meet with triumph and disaster / and treat those two imposters just the same...”
Sadly it didn’t work
for my poor, beautiful, broken collared dove.