starting with weather and continuing with swallows

I know I whinge* a lot about the weather in Scotland – I do try not to, but sometimes you just have to comment on what’s happening outside, particularly when it can have a major effect on how your day goes. However, every so often the most glorious days happen, especially at this time of year, when it hardly gets dark at all and the light evenings are perfect for sitting on a bench in your garden drinking cold beer and watching the swallows skimming the grass…

The swallows nest in the eaves above our back door, and this year also in the garage (I haven’t seen them, but Handsome has). I love them. They are so evocative of summer – warm nights and they are perfect carnivorous garden insect removers. I want to cheer when I see them eating midges** by the ton. I do talk to them when I come in and out of the house and they chirrup at me from the eaves; I’m always amazed that the parent birds don’t seem to be at all bothered by the traffic beneath them. There are no chicks yet this year, but there will be soon.

Our across-the-road neighbours have a large plastic owl hanging from their eaves, I didn’t realise until recently (when I retrieved it from the bottom of our garden after the gales) that it’s purpose is to scare off the swallows and martins and prevent them from nesting. Apparently  the mud from the nests can eat into the wood soffit boarding and cause it to rot. I would quite happily put up something that would stop the starlings nesting in our roof, but there are absolutely no circumstances where I would chase away the swallows.

*whinge – perfectly good word that I wasn’t even aware was Scots until it came up on the spell-check – sort of adult whining, with vocabulary.

**midges – invisible insects whose bite is bigger than they are – major problem for Scottish tourism, most definitely not the same as innocent English midges.

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