Friday, 15 July 2011

Swallows in Surbiton

Never seen so many from my back window as this year. Usually it’s the odd one or two at very infrequent intervals, but now I see them often and 6-10 at a time. Is this because it’s been such a warm spring and summer, or have new nesting sites become available or been chosen by them? I’d love to know where they are nesting.

Swallows are for me the most magical bird, for the gusto of their flying and their migratory lifestyle. One of things I envy my sister for, living in rural Pembrokeshire, is that every year she sees them return to nest in the eaves and barns and can watch them wheeling and swooping all summer long, and finally watch them lining up on the telegraph wires read to ‘go back where they came from’ -- to everyone’s regret.

It’s one of the things I’d most like to live in the country for (impracticable idea -- where would I see my Miro exhibitions, browse in big bookshops, hear 20 different languages a day, see big orchestras, consult an Apple Genius bar and attend talks on Adam Smith, new archaeological ideas on ‘the social mind’, Rimbaud and the prospects for the euro? quite apart from getting livened up at least once a week by the company of clever, funny and nice academic colleagues.)

If the swallows decided to nest in the roof of our flats in Surbiton, that would be the perfect solution.

The year the swallows don’t return will feel like the end of the world.

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