Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Green madness

Grey and green - the view from the barn

Grey and green – the view from the barn

A strangely murky, grey, May day last Tuesday; the Chilterns invisible, usually a sign of bad winter weather on the way.

The greyness served to highlight the intensity of green – the only other colour on offer today. The view from the barn is in green and white. Two grass fields in the foreground, huge arable fields in the distance, separated by hedgerows waiting to be whitened with blossom. It felt a little as though green was the only colour available, and a pretty intense shade at that. It seemed a bit mad.

The thing I got excited about on Tuesday was once again birdy. I noticed swallows flying through the barn. That was good. Two years ago I put up some lovely little clay bowls inside, purchased from the RSPB and designed to be irresistible to swallows. Since then I haven’t seen a swallow fly anywhere near them. On Tuesday I spent a while watching three, zooming around the barn, which was lovely. They are indeed superb fliers. I should perhaps clarify that I’m talking about the barn swallow, Hirundo rustica. Later there was a great deal of swallow-related noise and sticking my head around the corner, one individual was sat on a rafter. Very exciting! One swallow does often sound like four, but even so, I was sure I’d heard more than one. Two more flew in. I’m spending a lot of time in the barn on my own. These things become important.

A week on, the hawthorn has flushed into flower, adding broad white brush-strokes across the landscape and balancing the previous green madness. I’ve seen no more swallows in the barn and my beautiful swallow homes remain vacant. Any swallows reading this may wish to make an approach through these pages.

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