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Woodpecker on the windowsill

7/7/20


Today, when I was getting dressed I thought I heard an odd sound. I vaguely thought “that sounded like a woodpecker cry” and dismissed the notion immediately. I then went downstairs and into the kitchen to be confronted with a very flustered green woodpecker on the windowsill...and also a very curious Minxy (cat) on the floor! I shouted for assistance, shut the cat out and put on a pair of gloves…a woodpeckers beak looks even longer and sharper up close. I then started to try and access the window which is completely blocked off by Aideen’s orchid collection. Carefully removing orchids, whilst talking softly to the woodpecker who was glaring at me suspiciously. When he inevitably started to flutter again, I realised he had a claw caught in one of the clips that secures the orchids to the supporting sticks! Fortunately, I managed to open the window and free the poor birds foot simultaneously and the woodpecker flew out of the window. How on earth he got in the kitchen I do not know, it did not look as if he had been brought in by Minxy. The blog title today ‘Woodpecker on the windowsill’ reminded me of the titles of Dereck Tangye books which I read many years ago and have re-read recently. They are lovely books telling the story of a couple who escaped the rat race in London to start a flower farm in Cornwall at Minnack. Dereck Tangye was a brilliant writer and used titles like ‘A Gull on the roof’ or ‘A drake at the door’ so I think he would have appreciated ‘A woodpecker on the windowsill’!

When Aideen and Meave came down to help me with the woodpecker, they took one look at me and started laughing. The bee stings from yesterday have made my face, under the nose and top lip on one side swell. I look like someone who has had ‘lip fillers’ that have gone wrong! My lip feels very odd and I did reflect it was a good thing that I didn’t have to play my bassoon today! After quickly getting dad up, we had another visit from the Hillingdon Arboricultural manager and her tree surgeon contractor. This involved us all (including Patrick) climbing up on to the arcaded wall with a ladder – I don’t notice Patrick showing any aversion to ladders, surprising considering his past experiences! We then all spent some time peering up into the trees trying to decide which trees needed cutting back or cutting down. We will only cut down trees that are literally growing on top of the wall (mainly seedling sycamores). Any substantial trees are being ‘lifted’ – some lower branches over hanging the wall removed. Later in the day, we also have a visit from Mickey who says he can start on some wall repairs next week. It is very encouraging to be able to make some progress on these major jobs.

Today, I have decided to temporarily divert my energies from manic planting to some general garden tidying and I manage to get Meave and Aideen to come out late in the day to help and they make a start on weeding the fruit cage. We have a slight problem with the fruit cage at the moment – our resident blackbird pair have cunningly found some entry points into the cage and we keep finding them inside the cage gorging themselves on berries!

Unfortunately, Patrick’s elaborate roof design for the cage required the netting to be cut into sections and attached to the roof. This has left a few weak spots that need a bit more careful fixing to subvert our clever avian friends.



I spend some time restoring my miniature Japanese garden which lives in a large shallow sink. Then I weeded the Alpine beds, a job I’ve been itching to do for weeks. I added fresh gravel where required, cut plants back and rearranged the shells. By this time, there was a steady drizzle and I had to go inside to do a bit of ‘online’ teaching. Despite the rain, I still came out again and planted out a tray of bedding begonias in the ‘organ pipe’ bed. I could not believe how hard the ground is in this area and also ‘dust dry’ just under the surface. It is unsurprising that some plants struggle in this bed, what is really amazing is that any plants do well! It makes me realise how lucky I am with the soil in the rest of the garden. By the time I go in, the light is facing and I am soaked…am I mad…probably!

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