Things beginning with s

Swallows: they are back.  I have been watching for weeks, looking out of the window, glancing up as I walk across the gravel, turning to look over my shoulder as I go for corn for the chickens.  Nothing.  Nothing.  Empty sky, despite the soaring buzzard, the flapping crow, the bouncing, skittering chaffinch.  And then one moment, looking out of the window for nothing, for something else, a swoop and a dive and a magic shape disappearing almost before you have seen it.  You stop.  You look.  You are waiting, too still.  And here it comes again: the perfect arc.  They are back.

And today a shepherd's hut.  A place to sit and write and dream, up here in the far corner of the field.  We have already decided to have one, so today is for detail: colour, height, position of sockets, how big to make the hearth for the woodburner.  A place to be and not to do with a far, high view up across the valley and up towards the hills.

Comments

  1. I love those moments when nature takes you by surprise and sends you a reminder of the beauty in the wild things.
    Long ago I taught at a camp,we called those moments "teach-able moments".We always paused when they happened because you could never plan for them.As an adult I still love them,they remind me to pause.

    I read your blog each time and never leave a comment for some reason but today your post really spoke to me.Thank you for the gift.

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    1. I love the idea of the moment which makes you pause. Pausing is much underrated.

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  2. Elizabeth, no matter how hectic and busy my day, no matter how loud the sounds of the city blaring through my windows, no matter how urgently all my tasks bear down on me - your posts always bring me to a green and peaceful place. Swallows and shepherd's huts were just what I needed to read about today! And I love that your post was about things beginning with s - I hope you don't mind if I steal it - it's just what I need for the post I need to get written!

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    1. I am glad it works that way for you! On my side, I love the window into your world, and other worlds all across the globe. Fascinating stuff.

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  3. Swallows are back with us too - after a false starts which raised my hopes. They are swooping really low, because it is so wet I suppose and that is where the insects are.

    And a shepherds hut! How exciting - I really want one too. It would be so useful for visiting family who fancy a bit of 'glamping'. Have you found one or will Ian make it?

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    1. The guy who is making our hut lives and works not far from you, in Churchstoke. I will report back!

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  4. Is it your birthday, too? ;-) Congratulations to that Shepherd hut, we have that on our wishlist as well but EG would like to build two out of three old. Job number 3267. Me too, I always get tears in my eyes when eventually the swallows are back. Sadly very very few and they came very late, spotted them first 23rd April, the year before it was end of March. And no house martins here at all. Hope they will have a good season to build up their numbers again. Are you going to Malvern Spring Fair?

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    1. I love your job number 3267! we have a list like that!

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  5. Ah - I know exactly where you are going to put that! How wonderful, am not in the slightest bit envious, no, not one jot *watches nose grow at an alarming rate*

    Great the swallows are back too, maybe will will have a summer after all

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    1. You are right about where it goes! I do hope we have a real summer, just longing for it.

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  6. Swallows here too - was having a cuppa at Karen's on Sunday, and one swooped over the garden, followed by another. I hope they've brought their raincoats and tiny swallow wellies.

    Congratulations on the shepherd's hut!!

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    1. I am very excited about the shepherd's hut, in a quiet, almost can't bear to think of it way.

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  7. Swallows have arrived in Mid-Norfolk, but sadly here in the west of the county we have not seen them for a couple of years. Lots of ROOKS!! Anyone for rook pie?

    Oh, a shepherd's hut - how delightful. Wishing my garden had room for one, I would be there at every opportunity. Enjoy yours!

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    1. There are quite a lot of rooks further up the valley but fortunately they live on my neighbour's farm, not here!

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  8. It is strange how around this time of year we keep half an eye open for the swallows return - and somehow, when they do it comes as a relief. All is well, the year turns, the swallows have come back - as Kate said above we saw the first two on Sunday.

    I am so looking forward to seeing the Shepherds hut in situ do you have a date?
    K

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    1. You put it perfectly - the relief at seeing the swallows. I let out my breath. All is well.
      End June is the date for the hut!

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  9. Colour me green! Your swallows are back and you will soon have a shepherd's hut ... too perfect. Enjoy x

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  10. Hurray for the swallows! A shepherds hut - perfection.

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    1. I hope so about the shepherd's hut. It seems to represent so many things: peace, solitude, simplicity. What will I do when it is full of children?

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  11. I'd love to be able to report the same thing. I saw a single Martin a couple of weeks ago, high in a leaden sky, engaged in a futile search for nourishment - so sad. And then just the other night, as I walked home, a bat doing much the same thing, chasing through a threatening drizzle under low grey clouds. Poor mite, chased from hibernation by spring starvation; there couldn't have been a single invertebrate in the sky between here and Swansea.

    Our apple blossoms wither unfertilised for want of insects.

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    1. It has been better up here today Fennie. I hope for you too. There has been too much of the threatening drizzle under low grey clouds.

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  12. and the Martins are back under the eaves, busy, busy, busy!

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    1. Today I was planting coriander out into the herb garden, under cloches to cope with the cold, and the swallows were whizzing back and forth, busy as you say!

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  13. The swallows are late this year and thin on the ground too. I saw a single one a couple of weeks ago and last week there were three but I'm not seeing them regularly. So far I haven't noticed any swifts at all.
    A shepherd's hut - what a wonderful thing it would be to have one of those. It will remain a dream for me I'm afraid as they are way beyond my financial resources.

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    1. We don't have swifts here but we do have swallows. I have been watching them as I was working in the garden today. Magic.

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  14. I too saw my first swallow yesterday, swooping down to catch insects on the surface of the village pond. A welcome sight!

    And a shephard's hut! A favourite fantasy. Enjoy x

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    1. Why are swallows so moving? I don't know but still find them so.

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  15. The birdsong here in the morning is a treat - but no swallows yet.
    I think that a shepherd's hut is a great idea. A place for being and not doing - perfect.

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    1. Being and not doing is an easy idea but a hard achievement. I am not sure how much I can do but will have a try and if I fail, doing in a beautiful place is an achievement in itself.

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  16. I think they 're later this year,aren't they? I do like the sound of your shepherd's hut.

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    1. Ours are about three weeks later I think. I was beginning to get a bit worried!

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  17. How wonderful to have swallows, I don't think I've ever seen any around here. I love the sound of the shepherd's hut too, a perfect place to sit and ponder.

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  18. I have a tame blackbird. Whilst in the garden on Sunday I could have hand fed her worms she kept so close. Does that count?
    I love the idea of a shepherd's hut. Let me known when it is in and you may be getting a visit from a few jealous friends!

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    1. A tame blackbird definitely counts! and visits are always welcome although I think I am due to see your garden next!

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  19. O Elizabeth, a shepherd's hut !That's the most wonderful thing, a place to be. Like Roger Deakin and his shed, and Dylan Thomas in his writing room. I am wildly envious...

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  20. and yes , swallows are long back here in the far SW. When the first ones came it was so cold and wet that they must have had problems getting food. with the warmer weather here there are lots of flying insects above my large pond.

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    1. And lovely to have the spring again after the long winter for another year.

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    2. I really hope it works wonderfully to have the shepherd's hut, both for me and for the family more widely. We shall see!

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  21. Ah, the shepherds hut sounds idyllic. I think I've seen the swallows back here too, but without time to stop and look yet, they're just a shadow in the corner of my eye, as you say.
    Sara

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    1. I took some time when I was in the garden yesterday to watch them for a while. The swooping acrobatics are just wonderful!

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  22. Things beginning with "S": Shepherd's hut? Serenity? Silence? Sign me up! Seeya Soon!

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    1. Oh yes, I like serenity and silence too! And would like see you soon if you can ever make it to wales!

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  23. Beautiful, it's so lovely when they fly by, it's a great signal of knowing Summer is on the way! Let's hope we have a good one! xx

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    1. I am longing for some real warmth but swallows and showers are a good thing too!

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  24. Hello Elizabeth, I joust found your nice blog and I've been amazed by your latest post and by the beauty of the place you live and I really appreciate your post about raising children (even though I don't have any!) :)
    cheers.

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    1. Hi Alberto and thank you for taking the time to comment. I have just been over to your blog. what wonderful roses!

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