Thursday, June 18, 2015

Back to Nature, Not Necessarily in a Good Way

Getting to the top of the waiting list at the Kennyhill Allotments in Riddrie coincided nicely with getting back from Saudi. I've been almost every day since. I've got half of the plot held by a gardener who's getting on a bit. He clearly knows his onions: the soil is beautiful. One side is fruit bushes which had overgrown and were straggling onto the main bed, and were besides getting choked with nettles, so I've been clearing them, and cutting back the bushes, even though it's really the wrong time of year for pruning.

It was nearly job-done tonight, just a few feet and one more bush, a few dozen stinging nettles and couple of brambles to sort out. And then I saw a nest in front of me. Two listless looking chicks, one dead one discarded to the side. I swore and stepped back. I'd cleared the whole area of stinging nettles and feral fruit bushes, pausing as I'd been going along this thirty yard stretch, happy that it was starting to look like a garden. And I'd nearly finished, so here was this nest, wrens, exposed, nowhere to hide. I thought briefly of covering them with cuttings... daft idea. Nature. Natural selection. And then I saw a pair of magpies land on the roof of the dilapidated shed, watching me.

I went to the shed, it was pouring with rain anyway, so a good idea to take shelter. An adult wren appeared and went towards the nest, which I couldn't quite see now from this angle. And then wee jenny wren flew to an old table right by me, and looked at me. "I know," I said. She flew off. And then one of the magpies headed for the nest. I heard no noise. She reappeared, flew to a post a few yards from me. She looked me right in the eyes, and wiped her beak on the post, looked at me some more, wiped her beak again. I thought about how obvious it is that birds are descended from dinosaurs.

I didn't go back to examine the crime scene. That was enough gardening for today, I got on my bike and headed for the Lea Rigg and my customary post-gardening pint. Be nice to be amongst humans. But we're weird. Tonight was "Psychic Night".  Seven quid entrance fee, and it was filling up with middle aged ladies, so I took my pint to the side room, finished it more quickly than usual, and got back on the bike.