Monday, 9 May 2011

summer is icumen in

A busy time - it always is at this time of year. Exams and marking.  I intended to sit and write a lengthy blog tonight but tiredness and the ITV series Perspectives has taken up my time.  More on that another time.

The wonderful weather that we've been having recently has meant that our tiny garden is getting a lot of attention. It always amuses me when books about "how to grow your own in a small space" still manage to assume that a "small space" means Tardis proportions.  Our garden really is small - about 20' by 15' for growing purposes.

We seem to have managed to plant a lot of food stuff this year.  Besides all the usual herbs, we've got some potatoes, runner beans, onions, garlic, blackberries, broccoli, lettuces of various varieties and mini apple and cherry trees.  We have plenty of tomato plants waiting for another week or so to be put out into the summer air.  All this and a barbecue area too.

I say Summer, and I mean it.  Today I saw the first Swifts of the year.  I thought I saw a Swallow last week up in Southwold sitting on a telegraph wire, but today as if by magic, about five Swifts came and performed their air show for us high up in a beautiful blue May afternoon sky. Simon Barnes claims that a young Swift may stay on the wing for up to three years after it first leaves the nest.  They fly constantly; sleeping, eating and, yes, copulating on the wing.  Surely they are the original members of the Mile High Club.

Eat your heart out, Icarus.

NB: This post was originally written on Sunday evening.  It should have included a short video clip of the garden yesterday but blogger appears to be so crap at the moment, it can't cope with a simple upload.  Welcome to the digital world: great while it works but basically it doesn't.


Mike C. said...

Do you know Ted Hughes' poem, "Swifts"? One of my favourites.

We always see the first swallows in Wales at Easter (Tues 12th April this year) -- they must be the advance guard on their way north somewhere. The first swifts over our house this year were on 2nd May. I love the description used in one of our bird books, "screaming flying parties" -- that's exactly what they are. Wouldn't you love to be able to do that?

I believe swift eggs are laid in the stratosphere and have tiny wings to keep them aloft. Or maybe I dreamt that.


Dave Leeke said...

And here they are, here they are again . . .

Actually, Mike, I think you must have dreamt that - evidently they lay eggs in rafters and caves. Once the young leave the nest, they can stay in the air for two years.

2nd of May! That does seem quite early but then you live down in a relatively warm part of the country.

Like Hughes, I'm just glad they've made it here again.