one for the birds

i was quietly sitting in the garden one sunny afternoon and very soon spied the covert movements of a wood pigeon making a nest. this particular garden bird rustled in the top of the spindly bamboo with a furious flapping of wings, with a slightly ungainly, shuffling side-step manoeuvre along a very slim-looking branch, finally hopping into the dense greenery of bamboo. after a short while the wood pigeon would reappear again, waddle its way back along the skinny branch to fly off again. it would then return a minute or so later with a long strand of grass or a thin twig clasped in its beak and once again make the awkward, gawky sideways shuffle back towards the location of the nest.

photograph of a wood pigeon building a nest

a wood pigeon building a nest in the garden, seemingly unruffled when i went inside to get the camera, prepared to wait a moment for the close-up…

there is another wood pigeon nesting high up in another tree, hidden among some rambling honeysuckle; she has been sitting on her eggs for four weeks or more. meanwhile, the grumplesome hen of henley house’s own nesting quarters, for all the appearance of wanting to brood herself, has steadfastly refused to lay a single egg since late april… am i to be the brooding, quarrelsome hen or the hard-working wood pigeon?

anyone with a garden will have been busy these last few weeks. i proudly potted up ten small courgette plants grown from seed (that’s zucchini to any passing americans) in early may, five black and five yellow (plain green is just so last year) and placed them outside, only for them to be caught by the first morning frost in what seemed like months – all my green-fingered work instantly undone. one yellow courgette plant has since survived and three of the black courgette plants also appear to be slowly springing back to life from their shrivelled stems… so, ne’er cast a clout ’til may be out (or whatever; i’ll get my coat…)

now, we hope for more customary british weather to quench the arid earth, after what has been the driest (and probably the warmest) april on record. the months of april and may passing by without a good old-fashioned drenching undoubtedly signals that august will once again be characterised by many days of rain…

dear reader, it seems like it has been a while since i last wrote, due to a certain ambivalence about the relentless task of blogging (too much of the introspective grouch)… much has happened which is relevant to the life of this contemporary artist, but there is no need to share it here… i had cause to think back five years, to how i assumed that writing a blog might invite some exchange and subsequently change… i realise now that the creative exchanges that i most draw upon tend to come from the small, real world that i actually inhabit… art is art, and everything else is everything else