2 May 2010


SwallowBig news this week – our swallows arrived back on Monday and one was so excited to see us again that he immediately shat all over our bed.

It had been a splendidly lovely day and Pen left the door open as she left for gym that evening so that Molly could lounge out on the driveway or in the garden if she so desired. Of course, the open door was an open invitation to the returning swallows. (Generally, we don’t have a “problem” with adult swallows flying into the house; it’s more often the babies when they are just learning to fly who occasionally make a wrong turn and find themselves on the inside trying to find a way out). So, I hadn’t really thought much about it and indeed, at that stage, I didn’t even know they were back, of course.

I certainly didn’t see the culprit fly in; all of a sudden I heard a peculiar flapping sound from upstairs. As I investigated I discovered that one of the swallows had flown into our bedroom and, in his anxiety, had proceeded to poop all over the place. I closed all the doors, opened the window and gently persuaded him to leave. Afterwards, I inspected the damage – our friend had left three deposits on the bed, two on the carpet and three more on a couch we have upstairs.

Still, it’s nice to see them back.

Wednesday early evening whilst I was putting the rubbish out for collection on Thursday morning, they were back. Three “scouts” were swooping in and out of the garage, chattering at each other in an aggressive manner and then chasing each other all over the neighbourhood. I am guessing that they were investigating the highly desirable accommodation we have available in the garage and there was some discussion about which swallow had claimed it first. I am sure they will settle their differences in a calm, quiet & dignified manner and whoever gets the month’s deposit in first can have it.

I did a bit of shopping in Banbury in the week. The weather was very pleasant which brought everyone out of their winter hibernation. As I meandered around the town there were countless young mums propelling push chairs (strollers) along the pavement whilst dragging two or three other toddlers along, providing encouragement with the occasional shout or bellow. Sometimes, they were accompanied by their young gentleman friends in shorts, t-shirts and acres of tattoos. It’s clear that I am becoming an “angry old man” as I was struck not only by the increasing number of “chavs” Banbury has acquired in recent years but also by the number of very, very, very large people. I think many have been stuck indoors all during the poor winter weather we’ve had and simply eaten continually.

I had another bout of cooking in the week, this time Chicken Cordon Bleu following a communication from Dad. My chicken breast flattening and rolling is significantly improved following a couple of excellent suggestions from Nick. He suggesting rolling the breasts in cling film in the first instance and then placing them in the refrigerator for a time prior to cooking. When you unroll them from the cling film they keep their shape and there’s no need for string or toothpicks. I can tell you, this week’s results presented an almost passable picture and the end result was tolerably tolerable.

We are currently enjoying the delightful company of Ching Ryan for a couple of days. She is in the UK for a couple of weeks on work and we were delighted to be able to invite her to come up for the weekend. As it happens, this is the May Day holiday weekend – tomorrow is a holiday – so, we’ve got her ‘til then. An absolute treat although typically the weather has decided to be anything other than cooperative. We’ve had a very pleasant week with temperatures in the mid 60s and a bundle of sunshine. Yesterday was a bit on the cool side but still dry and reasonably pleasant and then, last night, it started to bucket down; this morning is cold with a stiff, blistering northeast wind and, potentially, several more buckets of rain. Not quite the ideal day for exploring Oxford or Kenilworth or Stratford or Edge Hill or anywhere else outdoors for that matter!

She was, in fact, due to fly into the UK a couple of weeks ago but was delayed by the Icelandic volcano for a week. She’s only in the country until next Friday so we thought we’d also take advantage of her presence by making an outing up to the big city next Thursday. We’ll take in a gallery and/or museum or two and then meet up with her to take her to dinner at one of our favourite places in London. We don’t need much of an excuse.

Love to you all,