I would count myself as a bird lover. I think that there is an element of envy and admiration in this; imagine being able to fly, it must be wonderful. I pampered the white pigeons we used to keep, and the unusual breeds of poultry and their fluffy chicks too. But I have to say my love of all things avian has been put the test recently. At Shoestring there is cacophany of sound every morning, and when I say "morning" I don't mean at dawn. I think it must be about 3am when my feathered friend starts the morning concert. (I won't turn on the light to discover the time because I imagine it would give my torturer a thrill to see how successful his campaign is. I imagine him out there with a little bird megaphone, peeping towards the bedroom window and sniggering in a birdy, beady eyed kind of way.) And it's not as though the sound is a pleasant one either. This bird is just warming up for a day of warbling and does it by practising all the most basic notes in groups of two to five at a time before moving on to the next note. There are clicks and gargling warbles and other odd sounds also. And the volume! It is incredible. I imagine living with an opera singer must be similar - you have to endure the nuts and bolts hours of practise before you can hear a single heavenly aria and there is no escaping that. I say "he" when I speak of my torturer because I have concluded that he must be the top bird in these parts. There are hundreds of birds who nest in the ivy growing up the walls in the back garden, so there is no shortage of birds; therefore why does only one start the day so early and in such a self important, puffed up manner? Surely it must be a territorial declaration of superiority? And I would like to know what sort of bird he might be, but it is pitch black so no chance of discovering the species. I am picking starling though. Thrushes are a more retiring, pleasant kind of bird.
Now that I have got that rant off my chest, what else has been happening? The weather was not conducive to gardening this weekend but we did manage to get outdoors in between showers and plant some more perennials and cuttings. One of our daughters came over with a couple of friends and they all went for a long walk up the mountain and then a soak in the hot pools. We filled them up with bacon soup from the ever-useful crockpot before they went home, and it was lovely to see them all.
On the charity shop front it was thrilling to find these two fur jackets to wear to the upcoming art deco weekend in Napier. With three of us to outfit we will be able to swap them around and make the most of them. I think the one on the right may be rabbit. But the one on the left is more "authentic" art deco and a far superior sort of fur! It even has that odd piquant odour which no amount of airing ever seems to remove.
Also this landscape painting ($3) has started a new collection plan - the aim being to have a wall covered in landscape paintings from charity shops. As the walls at Shoestring are pretty small it may not be as ambitious as it sounds, though sometimes a little more than $3 may be needed.
But for some reason this little jug ($1.70) thirlled me the most.
When I saw it I was reminded of another one I already had, but they are not exactly identical in their dimensions as I discovered when I bore my treasure home.
It says, "A Present From Weston Supermare" in golden lettering which has almost worn off. It is very pretty but I must try to find out where Weston Supermare is - what a strange name, I imagined it must be some sort of seaside spa or resort town in England but I'm not sure. It will look very nice with roses in it in the spring time - if spring ever comes that is. And I wonder if the torturer bird will arise even earlier then? I may have to invest in some earplugs to take to Shoestring Cottage. Imagine going to the peace of the country and having to take your earplugs with you!
And the lovely Mrs Peaceable gave Mr Shoestring a clever candle snuffer this weekend. It is hinged and flexible to make it easier to reach and extinguish the candles. We were sharing delicious coffee and macadamia nut brittle at the local cafe when she presented him with the snuffer. She must have noticed last weekend that he could not light the candles at the front door because they were just a little too high up for him to snuff out at the end of the evening - hence this lovely snuffer will ensure a more romantic entrance to the cottage next time Mr and Mrs Peaceable come round for dinner. Bless her.