The Magpies that have taken up residence along the lane are a cheery bunch. They cluster in the trees on either side of the front gate and enjoy a spirited - twit-cheeyow-twit - conversation. 'The Font' thinks it sounds more like gargling than bird song. Villagers heading off on the school run slow their cars to look at us standing at the door looking skywards and laughing. We've just provided reinforcement to their view that Northerners are strange. They chat to their dogs and listen to Magpies chatting.
There's an old English rhyme about magpies that goes along the lines of : ' One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral. Four for a birth '. What would a dozen or more mean ? The best day ever ?
The PONs hear the sound the birds are making but are unable to determine where it's coming from. They stand at the gate and guard. Sophie steadies herself by putting her front paws between the bars. With two metal legs I do wish she wouldn't do this.
The Magpies seem not to bother the resident owls and woodpeckers who make the Plane trees their home. Nor do they bother the PONs who are loaded into the car and taken off to the cafe.
One of the lime trees by the barn is sick. It's started to ooze what looks like black treacle from a cut branch onto the grass. The tree surgeon says he's never seen anything like it. There again the tree surgeon is better suited to lopping off branches rather than trying to repair them.
I'll go to the hardware store and buy some bitumen to coat the exposed stump.
This is what the world has come to : https://twitter.com/BiologistDan/status/927591025551351808