Wednesday, 12 December 2012


It's the twelfth of the twelfth of the twelfth,
and the squirrels are scurrying with stealth.
Fluffy fat robins are hop bobbing
all around this frosty morning,
hoar frost glitters the trees
sparkling white tendrils on biting blue sky,
and sugar coats the berries.
This is surely an auspicious date
One that I'll never see again
Perhaps we should celebrate,
this calculation made by clever men.
Some peanuts for the creatures,
a robin for the cat,
For me, a large hot chocolate,
and a very silly hat.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

I have bought a second hand shed, large enough to be an art studio and with help of father in-law and uncle Colin ( the shed supremo expert) and a near divorce due to husband's total inability to work with his wife or take instructions from her on this DIY project - why  do men hate being told what to do by their wives? !
We have erected it.
Having been told by a couple of well meaning relatives that sheds should be painted green, I have painted it lavender, mixed by myself with white undercoat and artists oil paint to get the perfect colour.

Initially I doubted my choice, while the wet paint was on just one side, and husbands face was a picture!
But, I "slept on it" and the next day went down the garden to look at it, a fresh, and thought Yes!

My neighbour June said "Wow", my friend Helen said "Oh, Wow!" and so the colour has gradually spread to the rest of the shed. Now only the back of the shed remains brown, its hidden by a conifer behind, and the spiders have taken up residence there, so I will wait until I'm at my most robust before tackling that.

Such peace! Oh God, the utter bliss of a shed of ones own! Away from the Budgies! away from washing up! away from the phone! Away from the road! Away from the house and all the chaos it contains!
Did I say it was peaceful? Why should men have all the fun, why shouldn't women have sheds too!

In my shed I have a small wooden, ornate folding table, with barley twist legs, rescued and renovated by me.
I have an easel and three chairs and a darling little door mat; and that is it.

No other stuff is allowed in my shed, unless its paint, pencils or pens.

I have got to insulate it before the winter gets going, I've been given many rolls of recycled plastic bottle insulation fluff by the in-laws. Initial elation turned to doubt, when it dawned on me that I would be surrounded by plastic instead of the sweetly scented timber that it currently is, not sure I want this in my shed, I'm getting very picky about my shed, things have got to be just right if it is to do with my shed, heaven help the world if I was to apply this notion to my life!

Also, I would like to have electricity in my shed. It's a long way down the garden from the house, so this may be too expensive, but I will investigate this, ideally I'd have some renewable energy supply, like a wind turbine or solar power-way out of my league financially, I would love to have a little log burner in there -way too dangerous though, and not enough room either.

For now there is nothing I enjoy more than just leaving the house behind, walking down to my shed, and just sitting in it, watching the garden from a pleasanter angle, listening to the grass hoppers and the twitter of the long tailed tits in the trees around me, utter blisss.

As far as my painting goes, it works a treat, due to lack of disturbance, I started and completed a painting for my friend Joan, within three weeks, unheard of before.
I was always too busy, washing up in order to be able to get to the sink to clean out the budgies, so I could answer the phone and get the hoovering done, before the Jehovah's Witnesses turned up, so I could do the shopping, after talking to Mum on the phone,
before I cooked the dinner....

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Bertie Chirpington came to stay,
On a feathery, fluttering,
Valentines day.

I said, "you're the prettiest thing I know"
He said, "I'd really rather go"
I said, "You're just a baby, so very sweet,
here's a finger on which to perch your feet",

He stretched his wings and flapped away.
Surely he'll return my love some day?

Speaking softly I stroked his breast,
He said "I miss my mothers nest".

They said "He's happy in his cage"
He twisted up and squawked with rage!
I said "It's far too little for his needs".
Then fed him up with honeyd seeds.

"We'll get plenty of money,
and buy a big aviary"
I promised my darling blue boy.

And so it started, my epic search,
For the ultimate Budgie perch.

I flapped and tweeted,
On facebook I bleeted,
Eventually I found it!
A home for his harmony.
Flat packed and bubble wrapped
and flown in,
from Germany.

Bertington Chirpy,
My blue flapping birdy,
I love your exoticness.
As you call to the wild birds,
from an open window,
I'm reminded of your restlessness.

If I let you out
would you flap about
With terror and surprise?

Or dance a feathered tango,
In a butterfly rainbow,
Bringing joy to my eyes.

Chirping all night long,
Your happy Budgie song.
Flying home in dewy hours,
With cherry blossom flowers;
Coo,cooing your dovey love song,
Just for me.

In my crowded little cage,
Of dust and anxiety.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Bertie Chirpington

It's been a while since I last wrote, and there is a good reason for this.

His name is Bertie Chirpington, he has very pretty violet blue feathers, bright black eyes and a very cute manner, he likes fraying string and wearing his little silver bell as a hat.
He also squawks loudly if he feels ignored (or for any other reason) and has an unhealthy attraction to Felix our cat.

Almost ten years since remarking to my husband on our honeymoon about a display of caged tropical birds, in a park, "poor things, I can't bear to see birds in cages" my dearest, thought it would be romantic to buy me a Budgie for valentines day!

Foolishly I fought my desire to say take it back, I don't want to be responsible for caging a bird!

I looked the ball of blue feathers in the eye, and saw how beautiful he was, I noted the make of cage he was in was called a Bertie and thought it was a very apt name for the blue one it contained.

I could see how stupid the whole idea of having a caged bird in our household was, reasons being :

1. Felix intrepid and highly efficient hunter.
2. Open plan house, therefore no where (apart from the conservatory or outside) to put the bird where he will be safe and out of ear range!
3. My sanity, how to paint or write when being squawked at, as well as knowing that I am responsible for having a bird in a cage?
4. We know nothing about budgies.

Therefore I spent the next few weeks researching Budgies and seeking a cage in which he could actually spread his wings and fly! Eventually I bought one, on line,  it was made in Italy and had the right dimensions, but when it arrived, I found that it was too flimsy to withstand feline attack, and I could see no way of assembling it, so I resumed my search. Finally I found a stronger, more attractive one, an indoor aviary, that had approximately the right dimensions (80w x 150cm h) and was made in Germany.

I enlisted the help of my father-in-law to put clear perspex around the base of the cage to protect the bird from Felix, and to put small wheels on the legs so we could wheel him out to the conservatory and back in to his shadier corner of the lounge when it got too hot & vise-versa.

All was going well until Father-in-law returned to complete the job, he hadn't noticed that Bertie's little cage was hanging from a different ceiling beam and promptly walked straight into it, head butting it straight into the coffee table, it ricocheted off and landed upside down on the floor!
Just as I thought " Bertie's dead!"  he flew up and out of the tiny broken cage and headed for the front window, luckily the nets were drawn so he didn't bash into the glass.

After our repeated attempts to catch him, I finally got him when he flopped exhausted onto the sofa side table, I stood with him playing in my hair while Father-in-law completed the new aviary.

Bertie was very happy with his new home! also I realised that Bertie did consider his cage to be his home and not a "cage" he felt safer there, than flying freely around the room, it is after all, what he knows.
But I could see he was lonely, they are flock creatures, so next I had to get him a friend!
Following advise, I bought a turquoise male from a local show budgie breeder. This budgie I've called Sidney (after Sidney James, actor)
He is a big boy, a diva, with long fluffy feathers, very strong claws and beak and a very raucous squawk, ear piercing in fact!
Bertie instantly loved his new friend, and took him on a tour of his new indoor aviary, letting him eat his millet spray first and taking him to the water bowl!
This was my error, the squawking of happy budgies has now reached new decibels!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Birth and Death in one weekend

Saturday, mid January, we visited my maternal Aunt and cousins for the first time,since the birth of my four month old, second cousin.
Mother and daughter are both beautiful and equally lucky to have each other and a very proud father. My cousin is a "mature"  (Yummy) Mummy and nearly died following a Cesarean with complications. I was very relieved to see them both looking so well and happy.
Some people can be negative about mature parent-hood, but I can see how their baby girl will benefit from this-they adore her (we all do)! - How many young people have children they weren't really ready for, and how miserable this makes them all?
This baby will be treasured, respected and loved, and probably break a few hearts, when she's sixteen-Good!

I returned home on a cloud, so, sooooo happy!

Sunday evening, our darling fluffy cat Purrdy, died.
She had been ill for months, but her pain relief drug (metacam) and a "business as usual" outlook, had kept her going far longer than anticipated, by us and the vets.
She developed breathing problems, so despite our plans to call the vet to her for her euthanasia, (it being a Sunday night, none were available for a home visit). We rushed her to the out-of-hours clinic.
The lady vet on duty was wonderful, she sensed my panic and calmed me down, and saw that my husband,(Purrdy's "owner") needed time to agree to her final injection.
Purrdy's death was very easy, very quick and virtually pain free. I hope when I go, it will be that easy.

Meeting my baby second cousin for the first time, the day before, had put my feelings for our cats into perspective. I was able to see them as cats again, not as the surrogate babies I had made them into. Maybe this helped me to cope with Purrdy's death.

Purrdy is buried by her favourite, sunny garden bench, near compost heap and hedge which she used to "stake out" for mice. 
I dreamt about her a few weeks after her death, she was curled up on the pillow next to my head and purring in my ear, it was "just business as usual" for her, bless her!


Soft spreading paws
Large and light
as shuttlecocks,
little whirlwind
through our home,
Lovely tabby
hearth rug,
short speedy,
rushing legs.

Huffy fluffy,
perfect pussy.
Bowled us over,
with your special
of feline affection.
Rushing from dinner,
to a secret convention.
With the mice,
or, the yowly Toms,
Our Bouncer of the
conifer corridor.
Spread belly up
Purring in the sun.

We are your loyal household
You were our
darling Queen,
we loved your wild ways
and wide eyed humour.
The house feels empty now,
despite the youngster's miaow,
you can be called
no more.
Supper is just for one.
You played your part
With perfection.
But now,
your earthly days are done.