Wednesday, 14 August 2013


I've never thought of myself as a home-wrecker. It's true to say that my efforts at DIY over the years have produced some questionable results but I've never knowingly set out to wreck anyone else's home. Until early this year that is.

When I started planning the new yard it became apparent that the rotten old wooden former garage / shed would have to go. I had mixed feelings about it because it had obviously stood there for years and years and I hate to destroy something that has a history. Something that someone once built, plank by plank and nail by nail and that holds stories in its failing wooden walls. I'm more of a patch-it-up-until-it-can-be-patched-no-more sort of person. My Dearly Beloved assured me that the garage/shed was well beyond that stage and after months of ineffectual patching I admitted defeat and the decision was made to demolish it.

Along came a man with a tractor and trailer who was very handy with a sledgehammer and a crow bar and the deed was done. The old garage's splintered corpse went away on a trailer and I was left with a great big empty space to contemplate. But as I surveyed this area a horrible thought dawned on me. This was the shed where the swallows nested last year, a situation that gave me such pleasure. In a matter of weeks they would fly all the way from Africa to find I had knocked down their home. I was appalled. Last year was the first time that swallows had chosen to nest on my property and I really was delighted about it. Now I was pretty sure I'd blown it. They'd  never come back. Or worse, they'd come back and find themselves homeless all because of me.

I'm happy to report I was wrong. What a relief.  In the midst of all the comings and goings of the yard build etc  they arrived and found a little nook in the old stable and built their nest. It wasn't ideal but they proceeded to elaborately decorate the surrounding area and the stable mirror ( a very effective tool that convinces a horse it's not alone so it doesn't get stressed),

 and when the youngsters fledged they all took to roosting on the opposite wall and decorating that as well. Strange that such a mess can make me so happy.

However, given that last year they raised two broods I was concerned when they didn't use the nest for a second time this year. I thought they had only used the stable out of desperation and had moved elsewhere for their second brood.

They had. It seems they much prefer the new stable which is a bit more private than the old one.

These are upwardly mobile swallows. Not wanting to disturb them I grabbed a quick photo and left them in peace. I think I've caused enough consternation in their world. The babies will have fledged by the time the stable needs to be used regularly so all is well.
Soon, instead of six swallows dive-bombing the dogs as we wander round the back field, there'll be ten. A whole flock! Lovely!

I do love a happy ending.


  1. I remember the swallows that nested in our porch as kids (judging by your view of Criffel in the title probably not that far from you) - they came back every year while we were there. Glad to hear that your's don't seem to put out with having to make a new home.

  2. Hi Sandy,
    Thanks for stopping by. Your blogs are great - the stained glass is really beautiful and you're obviously a really talented musician. I'll have to look out for you playing locally.