Saturday, 19 January 2013
The Merits of Hibernation
I took my gloves off long enough to grab a swift photo of the frost covered trees across the road and foolishly uttered the immortal words, "at least it's not snowing".
Some of us never learn. The next morning there were a few flakes of the white stuff and dire warnings on TV of more, much more, to come.
Friday morning saw thin light snow, gradually becoming thicker, heavier flakes, snow-ball size flakes, faster and faster until, going out to fill up the bird feeders I saw a sudden need to grab my wellies from the shed and take them into the kitchen.
Having thrown out a handfull of birdseed I took a shot through the backdoor glass of blackbirds and chaffinches feeding ravenously.
This was followed by ever heavier snow and more food being thrown out at increasingly short intervals.
At one stage there were 10 wood pigeons and a huge variety of small birds scrabbling around trying to get at the seed before it was covered by snow.
When this happens I resort to my standby supplement bird food, namely shredded suet and dried mixed fruit. (the cheapest available).
By mid afternoon there was quite a thick covering of the 'white stuff' and it was becoming necessary to pour hot water on the bird bath to keep a supply of water for the birds.
By now, very thankful that I had done a 'siege shop' the day before I was seriously thinking of taking to my bed to get warm.
The only thing that stopped me was the fact that it was still snowing and the birds were still landing thick and fast looking for extra lagging.
Taking the last shot through the front window I was aware that there was no longer a kerb or a road to be seen and that my front garden, drive and the footpath at the bottom had all disappeared.
Finally, getting dark though only 3.30 I threw out one last lot of food and went up to lie on the bed.
Resisting the temptation to undress and get in, I lay with eyes closed, aware that there were sounds of activity outside, but too tired to get up and look.
When I finally got up and looked out of the window it was to discover that the 'snow shovel fairy' had been, and I once more had a drive and a visible front step. The good fairy, though he would not appreciate the title, was my next-door neighbour a policeman, who had just come off duty and was 'chilling out' in his own inimitable way by clearing a path for himself and for me too.
John and I used to call him Action Man, since he was never still for a second, usually doing something for someone else, and always glad to be able to use his boundless energy in a good cause.
So, on reflection, tempting though it might be, I shall probably not hibernate, since keeping the bird population alive is something I can do in return for all the good things I receive.
That doesn't necessarily mean I'll be in church tomorrow.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 10:22:00 pm