We were sitting in our living room watching TV yesterday evening, minding our own business. To be fair at that time in the evening there wasn’t anybody else’s business to mind or I might have been tempted.
Suddenly, a mighty thump from outside in the back garden. We both jumped a mile. (That is, of course, an exaggeration, but I am sure you get my drift.) Mr B, who had jumped
even higher than I had, exclaimed: “Oh, my goodness me, what can that be? (or words to that effect) and suggested / demanded / insisted that I should sally forth into the back garden to find out what had happened.
Mr B hates loud and unexpected noises. He particularly hates it when I sneeze without first warning him. Mr B says I sneeze more loudly than anyone else he knows. He also has problems when I am out
in the kitchen because barely a day goes by without a crashing sound caused by pots, pans, the colander and the rolling pin falling out of the cupboard as I try to retrieve something (the Pyrex measuring jug, perhaps, or the kitchen scales) from the very back
of said cupboard. “Are you alright?” Mr B will bellow from the living room and “I’m fine!” I reply, picking everything up from the floor and stuffing it back in the cupboard from where it will certainly topple out next time I
visit the Land of Pots and Pans. This is, incidentally, a symptom of the famed Usher Gene, with which the female members of my family are blessed - there is no cupboard, fridge or drawer into which “just one more” item cannot be squeezed if one
is possessed of the Usher Gene.
However - and this thought may well have occurred to you already - being as I was indoors, minding my own business, there was no
way I could be held responsible for whatever had gone on in our back garden. I ventured forth, bravely, in search of answers.
Oh, dear, what a sorry sight met
my eyes! My beautiful stone bird bath, a present from Mr B twenty-seven years ago on our Silver Wedding anniversary, was lying in two pieces on the grass. Above, on the bird feeder, two hanging dishes (one for food, one for water) were swinging crazily. It
was too much to take in at a glance, it was only later I started to wonder what exactly had jumped into the bird bath and broken it asunder.
I have to admit it,
I stood there in the gloaming and cried. It wasn’t just any old bird bath, you understand, it was a Bird Bath with a History. Only the previous day I had been telling the story of our bird bath - how it was six whole months before the birds discovered
it and started to use it. I was actually in bed with a rather nasty bout of flu when Mr B burst into the bedroom and virtually dragged me from bed to window. “You WILL want to see this!” he promised my protesting self as he propped me up at the
Out in the bird bath, around a dozen sparrows were bathing - splashing, diving, ducking, having a fine old time. I immediately felt so very much
better. I think I may have even forsaken my bed and gone downstairs requesting a cup of coffee and a piece of toast, such was the recuperative effect of watching the sparrows at Junior Swim.
Over the years, I’ve loved to watch the feathered bathers. Occasionally they would line up on the branches of the nearest bush waiting their turn. After diving in and splashing about a bit, they would hop out to sunbathe. They
reminded me of myself on holidays in sunny climes, when I always needed to be as close as possible to the pool or the sea so that I could jump in the cool water the moment I felt over heated. Although of course, as anyone who knows me is aware, I would never
actually jump into a pool, rather I would take the steps, lowering myself gingerly into the water, bit by bit. So unlike the sparrows...
Mr B was completely sanguine
when, having dried my foolish tears, I reported back to him on the damage. “We will just have to buy another one,” he said, sensibly. He is right, of course.
So why do I still feel so sad...?