The Peanut Muncher.

It’s taken a while to capture a decent photograph, TwoTone moves fast to grab any peanuts we put down and is usually a blur of greed..but I’ve managed at last, here is TwoTone caught having a think. Needless to say, it didn’t last long..


Scandal at the Palace!

The Emperor has been deposed! I’m shocked to report that I have not seen the magnificent Emperor for over a fortnight now. In his place and canoodling with the Empress is another. I’ve had to call him Brad Pitt as he is such a good looking bird. The hint of green on his head is beautiful in the sunshine. I’m not just speculating either, here is concrete evidence that dark deeds have been afoot…..

IMG_0007 2

The Wolf.

I’ve been writing my blogs about birdlife recently, but this is something else entirely. I began drawing this before lockdown, but that and a bug put a stop to any drawing for a while. Once back on track I decided to finish the  piece. I’d the left half of the face finished when the dreaded happened. That mark by her left ear, the one that nothing would shift and made the work unsellable! I wasn’t at all happy, and rude words were spoken. Still, there was too much already done to leave it, so onwards to finishing. This is the end result. The general consensus that it’s a she wolf. As yet she has no name, I’m still pondering on that. Suggestions gratefully received…


Some of the other characters.

Getting evidence has proved difficult, I’m not sat in a hide with a great long lens on my camera. What I do have is an ageing compact camera, and several of my shots are of rapidly vanishing birdlife. (Please notice I didn’t say birds. In the language of the day, those are what rapidly vanished from my youth. I suspect the acne and Brut might have had something to do with that.)

But, back to our regulars. First there was Scruffy. He or she was a Ring Neck Dove with a strange patch of feathers between it’s ‘shoulders’ and a rather unusual sound to it’s wingbeat. It was an extremely brave bird, or perhaps ‘nice but dim,’ and came within inches of me to feed. I suspected foul play when Scruffy vanished for a good fortnight. However, I do think it may be back, with a mate. A similarly brave character has returned, with a much smoother patch between shoulders. I would like to think so.

Then there is TwoTone. This eager soul devoured all the peanuts we put out one morning. I worried that that much of such a large food would see the poor thing off, but two days later it was back to do the same. Nobody else seems to bother with the nuts, so if they vanish we must presume it to be TwoTone. And why the name? He or she is almost black, (what Dulux or Crown might call ‘Burnt Wholemeal Grey) and a lighter grey between the wings, (probably ‘Children’s Dough) I spotted TwoTone this morning, so all is well with there.

There are other regulars, a Magpie, a Crow, crowds of Sparrows, and on a good day, Great Tits, but I’ll save those for later. And I mustn’t forget the Red Kites. Not that they feed off our bird table!

The Emperor is challenged.

Twobar crop

Meet TwoBars. (He has two white flashes at the end of his wings) This character is rather demanding. He regularly challenges hopefuls, who want a bit of what’s going on the ‘log’ by puffing himself up and bouncing them over the edge. He joined the Emperor the other morning, and thought he’d try the same tactic there. The Emperor merely jumped onto TwoBar’s back, and compressed him into submission. There were witnesses…

The following morning TwoBars tried the same thing, fuelled by his embarrassment from the day before. Amazingly he managed to shove The Emperor off! But, straight away he leapt down to join his gang on the path. I almost heard his thought pattern. “Oh shit! I’ve just bumped the Top Man off the table. How stupid is that…better get off fast and make like it was a big mistake!”

TwoBars has not even visited the ‘log’ since then. The Emperor on the other hand, has. Often.










The Emperor.

The details aren’t important, but a year ago I started being able to begin each day two and a half hours earlier. What a joy, I could at last start each morning sat on the back ‘step’ with my first, and best, cup of tea of the day. Christmas 2019 prompted an idea, I spotted Christmas tree bases at our local Fruit & Veg shop, and when I’d had a lie down in a dark room to recover, this was the result.

chimney log-crop

We do have a bird table on the grass, but wheelchair and sodden ground don’t mix well. Oh, it is possible, but then the flat then looks as if a tractor has been practicing manoevres in it. The new ‘invention’ enabled me to feed the birds and enjoy their company while I had my tea, and over the months since they have become used to me, and I to recognise individuals amongst them. One sunny morning this character arrived for the first time. I thought he was the most beautiful pigeon I’d ever seen, his suit was perfectly cut and made of beautiful grey sateen. The detailing was perfect, and the cerise blush at his chest so delicate. I immediately thought of Jeff Goldblum in the film Silerado, the suave master of the card table. The trouble was referring to him as Jeff seemed diminishing. So, meet The Emperor.


It isn’t just me, is it?

They arrived, the earplugs I’d ordered online. I expected head sized earbuds from the size of the Amazon box, but cowering in a corner, beneath about 100 meters of crumpled paper was a tiny trembling box, with the small earphones in. Now one of my childish pleasures and measures of my manly strength (laughter offstage) is tearing up and recycling the square miles of cardboard etc. But, after reducing Amazon’s contribution to Global Warming to shreds I came to the tiny wee box. Try as I might it would not tear. I was beginning to think I needed to take some multivitamins or eat more porridge when I realised it was covered with a thin sheet of plastic skin. Deep frown, bad words….not another one!

I’m finding more and more of these plastic skinned paper and cardboard products, and they annoy me intensely. I’ve been recycling everything that hasn’t moved for a month since the early 80’s and now this has arrived. I rang our local Council’s recycling and found out it has to go to landfill as it can’t be recycled. The manufacturers must surely know better? It’s so frustrating, we are all doing our bit to better the environment, whilst people who should know better are blatantly producing things that cannot be recycled.

I won’t bore you further dear patient reader, but a letter to my MP is now in the post…..

Nothing changes…

I have been dipping into a book going back 2,000 years, written by Marcus Aurelius. (you’re spot on, the one in Gladiator)  Not because I’m in any way shape or form a Classics scholar, but because some of Marcus’ quotes peppered the film ‘Acts of Vengeance.’ How coincidental in the present times that this little bit jumped out at me. I quote..

‘…I owe the realisation that malice, craftiness and duplicity are the main concomitants of absolute power, and that our patrician families tend for the most part to be lacking in the feelings of ordinary humanity.’

Quite by chance I also came across this word, also superbly applicable to the present day…. ‘Mummery.’

‘A showy but empty performance.’

The Latest…

This is our neighbour’s Coby. He and our cat get on well and on occasion we have acted as B&B for him. Always a pleasure, and an ideal guest. He is now a ‘Therapy Dog’ and visits places where his gentle and well behaved personality really does give something special to those he meets. fbcoby turned


A friend of ours once owned one of the earlier Land Rover Discoveries, and despite it being built out of the Montego and Maestro parts  bins at BL, he swore it did all he asked of it. And as a climber and diver he asked a fair bit! It wasn’t pretty, but it looked functional. I have driven behind dozens over the following years, all unremarkable and an everyday part of the traffic. However, I have now had the misfortune of driving behind the latest Land Rover Discovery.

I would swear that my eyes were doing their best to crawl backwards into the dark, what an edifice, what an affront to taste! We had to stop behind it at a junction, and with time to think, some questions slithered into my curious mind. Why on earth hadn’t its owners just bought a Scania truck if they wanted to sit so high up, did they need oxygen, was there a collapsible ladder to get in with?  More generally, why was it even allowed past the design stage?

What more can I say, but that it’s no wonder this august company is struggling. As a painter this is an insult to the eye.

I’m sure the Americans will love it though…they do love cars with ‘fat arses.’

I’m going to stare at a photo of a Citroen DS from the back now, to help ease the dull ache in my retinas.