Woman versus holly and magpies – two:nil

Though it didn’t look very promising at half time.

Holly root

Holly root

I won eventually.DSCN5004

We have been putting up coconut halves full of fat and bugs for the birds. These have been a great success and we have much enjoyed the antics of a pair of long-tailed tits. They are thinking of nesting, but are convinced that our garage houses some rivals, so they spend much time attacking the windows.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHowever a much more serious threat has appeared. A pair of magpies have been eating from these coconut shells, and even investigating the seed feeders. We have found a simple solution, which might be useful to others. Two hanging baskets joined together make a really good guard. Small birds in, Magpies out.
DSCN5032DSCN5030I shall be away from my blog for a few days. I should have put up another POW post, but the garden demands have been non-stop so this will now have to wait until I return. I wish I could leave you with a picture of the miniature cherry or the apricot, but though both have started to flower they are not yet looking their best, so here are the current stars.

Camellia Mary Phoebe Taylor

Camellia Mary Phoebe Taylor

Anemone de Caen

Anemone de Caen (flowering now since late December)

Mad blackbird

This morning we saw a blackbird with a leaf as large as itself (ivy?) disappear into the holly tree outside our front door. This tree is only about twelve-foot high and brutally pruned each year to a ball shape to stop it taking the light out of the front windows. It’s pretty dense, but I have just looked and there is a nest there on eye level for the post man, or anyone else approaching the front door. This is no doubt the same blackbird (female) that does not bother to move if I cross her path while gardening.


The heap of earth and turfs growing on the front lawn (ready to fill in the new bank after the drive is remade next week) is probably regarded by the blackbird as a permanent meal table. The state of my back may mean she is right as it will be a while before I can move, shovel and barrow it all into place.

I should be writing while the back recovers. I am – sort of, but without any sense of making progress. With two books in full draft all I can do is tinker, make submissions and try to decide when to make the break and self-publish – and check the clock to see if it is time to put on the kettle.