Friday, 5 June 2015

Companionship and the Companion

The time has come to think about Marcia's position at the moment. We are coping because we are working as a team. We have discussed in detail how we should move forward and we have found there is little disagreement on the basics. I have signed – in front of my doctor who was responsible for witnessing that I am me and that I was in sound mind at the time – a form on which, amongst other matters, I state that I do not wish to be admitted into a hospital when my condition deteriorates. This form is most important. Without it Marcia could be deemed to have acted without due care and attention if something happened that would normally result in a quick call to the emergency services. Were that to be the case, she would then face a criminal prosecution. Now she is covered because she would be carrying out my wishes and both she and my doctor can stand witness to that.

The garden is full of adult birds feeding their young.

Anyway, it still doesn't quite let poor old Marcia off the hook. She feels she has a duty to look after me properly and I know there are days when she gets quite worried (I call these my off days). I try not to show how I am feeling but you can't live alongside someone for nearly forty years without being able to see through any acts they may be putting on. On one count she is absolutely right: I am hopeless at remembering to take medication when I should but she, bless her, keeps track and makes sure I do.

And not just the garden. These two canada geese seem to be very proud of their young, don't they?

To my great delight I am really enjoying putting material up on 'The Companion' My aim is to add a book a day hopefully both to the main pages and to the 'country' pages. Having said that I know that this is pretty ambitious even though it is based on fairly minimal 'country' pages all of which will need to be revisited – and most time and time again. 

Then there are the speciality subjects. By that I mean things like the history of tin mining in the area, how it was copper that provided the Dukes of Bedford with the wealth to virtually rebuild Tavistock, rabbit warrens on the Moors together and some historical oddities such as the mineral railway up on Exmoor. Have any of these a place in 'The Companion'? Well, it will be some time before I need to address that question and meanwhile there is lots to be done.

Meanwhile, the garden is full of baby birds – mainly blue and great tits, blackbirds, sparrows and rather surprisingly, nuthatches. All the places where we have lived there have been nuthatches but only here have I watched a youngster being fed on the ground on crumbs and such like picked up from the ground by the parent and thrust down the offspring's throat. I find myself wondering how good this is for that fledgling. Has the parent discovered a new and valuable food source or is it plain dumb and doing all sorts of damage to its child?

Horribly out of focus but it proves the point. Still, I was brought up to believe that the man who never made a mistake never made anything. It has proved to be a very useful motto behind which to shelter after getting it wrong.

I then wrote: Actually I can't remember seeing a nuthatch feeding on the ground before this – on trees and feeders, yes – but not on the ground. Then I had a look at my photos of nuthatches and realised this was nonsense. Above is another one doing just that some six years ago. Glad I checked.

However, this is much more how one expects to see these birds: om a feeder or, of course, a tree but always upside down.

The fact that a sparrow hawk is now dropping in for lunch most days means we have created a very healthy bird population in this garden which is. of course, part of the plan.

Just look at those claws! The red on the head indicates that this is an immature greater spotted woodpecker. These are territorial birds always happy to fight off any intruders and once this chap loses those red feathers (in the autumn) he will have to watch out but for now no adult will attack him.
Quick addendum: our first baby Great Spotted Woodpecker this year with mother arrived outside the kitchen. Offspring sat on the trellis while mum popped in and out of the nut feeder doing what mother woodpeckers do the world over. They are very nervous and any move to pick up a camera scares them off so no picture of these two but . . .