What to watch


I cannot watch the news these days. I switch on for the headlines but the extended news programmes full of disaster are too much for me. I do not watch because I cannot do anything about it. Can anyone look I wonder? It may be a coward’s way out, but my spirits drop as I stare in bewilderment.

One thing I am watching though, which lifts the spirits, is the robin nesting in my box outside my kitchen window, I could peer for hours as a flash of red shows the female bringing leaves and fine grass (and yesterday a white feather) to her nest. The male robin is on guard in the hedge or on the fence post and occasionally feeds her a tasty grub.

She is not making a good job of nest building, there are leaves left dangling and strands of grass coming out of the hole. I am tempted to think that I could assist. Maybe if I walked past and tucked and tidied it would help. This is nonsense of course the robins know what they are doing. The magpie is cackling nearby, and I do not want to make the mistake I once made and inadvertently showed the predators where the robin nest was by visiting to look inside. All the young were lost.

Another flash of red we saw this week was from a neighbour’s chimney. Huge plumes of smoke rolled across our west window and almost blacked out the setting sun. Then there were the sparks shooting up before it all died down. I rang our neighbours who were in another room and blissfully unaware of what we could see. They soon had everything under control, but it got me thinking about our phones.

I rang on their landline. We hardly ever use our landline. It is so much easier to use the mobile and it is just as well because the landlines will be obsolete in three years’ time, and we will have to use the internet instead. The trouble is some of my dearest friends who are older than me can only use the landline.

And of course, the other frequent users are the scammers, always taking me by surprise and seeming so genuine. Recently, one was about my electricity supply, and one was about a gift voucher I had just bought on-line. I believed both, but they were trying to get my personal details and make money out of me.

Today life is changing so fast it is often terrifying and our world is hardly recognisable from one week to the next. But the robin is tidying her nest ready for her eggs.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

The nest box outside my kitchen window


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