Somewhere in the tree depicted below, there is a magpies’ nest. There is no sign of the magpies in the picture, despite my best efforts, as they tend to fly away out of sight when I come out of the house wielding my camera. Because this tree is the one that looms large over our conservatory (and the same one that whirls unnervingly like a dervish every time the wind blows), the birds have decided that the garden, and possibly the conservatory as well, although they haven’t actually set foot in it yet – it’s only a matter of time – belongs to them. As a result, they have spent the last few days carrying out pre-emptive strikes against the cats, two of whom are old, harmless and very easily intimidated, and one of whom has been waging war against them ever since he arrived in the house several years ago as a fairly small kitten.
I think it was the magpies themselves who started the war by taking exception to the way Jacques could easily scramble up ‘their’ tree, usually then pretending to get stuck and having to be coaxed down. Once they noticed this, they decided to follow him around wherever he went, cawing at him crossly. It was quite useful in a way – you could always tell where he was from the noises that accompanied him across the old railway goods yard behind our house. The situation escalated dramatically at one point when he caught a magpie and carried it into the garden in triumph. The magpies who are nesting in the tree this year are particularly vociferous, and have started to register their disapproval by making horrible cawing, cackling sounds whenever they see any of our cats, and even flying at the cats, a high-risk strategy in the case of Jacques. However even he has taken to slinking around and making excuses to come back indoors even when it isn’t pouring with rain.
In other news this week, I’ve managed to re-start some sort of a routine for writing after life getting in the way quite a lot. I’ve got round to listing the chapters I’ve already written, I’ve had an idea for some background changes and I am contemplating making a list of the characters in a probably vain effort to prevent them from running rings round me.
I’ve been compulsively double-checking my arrangements and bookings for Finland, with only a few weeks left to go. I can’t help feeling anxious about aspects of the journey, especially where train changes are involved, but as there is nothing I can do about that I suppose I should relax and let things happen! Easier said than done… unless you’re a cat, of course.