The heatwave seemed to invigorate all the small creatures that live around my house.  While I lay listlessly on the sofa, watching the ‘mountain men’ scramble for a podium place in the Tour de France, they babbled, squabbled and, in the case of the flies, circled meaningfully.  The lasting image I have from this hot and sticky time is that of a swallow, perched on top of my open kitchen window.  Catching sight of him, I ran for the camera, but in my haste I snapped the picture too quickly. The resulting shot is more of a shadow, than a bird.  I have missed all his colour, the curve of his beak.

The owls are not what they seem, the swallows too.
This picture echoes the mood of the one I took . . .Andrea Marutti / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The following day, the clouds gathered and there were no more photo opportunities.  Only then, did I realise that I missed the sun and all the activity it seemed to inspire.  Over the past week I had noticed a pair of greenfinches; either battling or courting on the roof of our shed, a wagtail, with fragments of a nest in his beak and, later on, two wagtails, exploring the now sun-stripped field across the road.

Hubs pointed out to me that a swallow had built a nest to the left of our back door.  We think he or she is currently single, as trips in and out of the nest are solitary.  It may mean that the nest has been built for use next year, (apparently swallows do that).  Now, I’m very fond of our swallows, but I’m glad the nest is currently without a family as it would mean a lot of mess right on our doorstep!

And speaking of swallows, the book I’m currently reading is called ‘Fox, Swallow, Scarecrow’, by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne  It’s set in modern times but based on ‘Anna Karenina’.  Not surprisingly, the mood of the book is fairly melancholy.  I’m enjoying it though.  The language is quite beautiful and the curious interweave of characters, so compelling.  Although I know everything is going to go wrong, I can’t stop turning the pages!

I often find reading a well written book does wonders for my own creative productivity and sure enough, I’ve written a couple of flash fiction pieces over the last day or so and returned to a poem I wrote a couple of months ago.  At the time of writing, I felt the poem opened strongly but drifted off course about halfway through.  I’ve remedied this, taking the poem in a new, poignant direction.  It has a lot more substance now.

I’m thinking of buying some more books on Amazon this week.  I’ve had my eye on ‘The Snow Child’ since Christmas and I’m also looking forward to reading ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’.  I watched the film the other day and found it very clever and funny.  I’m also open to suggestions, if anyone has read anything particularly good recently?  In the meantime, try to enjoy this new twist in our summer story and stay tuned for my flash fiction blog post, coming up this weekend!

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