Just Before Christmas

img_9116Dear Readers, it’s a grey, blustery day outside, but inside the house Mum and Dad  have just finished tucking into their  mince pies. I’ve been in the kitchen making an orange trifle (the trick is the Cointreau poured generously over torn up madeleines with navel orange segments, orange jelly, amaretto flavoured custard and whipped cream). The starlings are gathering in the whitebeam tree, but they’re nervous – they can see that the bird table is full of suet and worms, but they can also see that someone else is on the ground, eating the suet in the ground feeder.

img_9141This tabby has developed a taste for Buggy Nibbles, and appears as if from nowhere whenever I put them down.

Once the cat has moved on, another regular visitor appears.

img_9123This little chap has been at work collecting every single peanut and then burying them somewhere in the garden.

img_9122img_9132img_9131I have no idea if peanuts can germinate in UK temperatures, but if they can I will have a peanut forest when spring comes. And, although it’s out of focus, I rather like this picture. It turns the squirrel into a kind of grey furry snake.

img_9127A little flock of chaffinches are also clinging on to the branches of the cherry tree next door.

img_9148The patience of wild animals always moves me. So much is at stake every time they risk coming down to feed, and so they wait, bright-eyed, until the odds are in their favour. Some of these chaffinches are this year’s fledglings, so I imagine that they are watching and learning. If a small bird survives its first year, there is a good chance that it will survive to breed. Who would not wish these little ones luck?

img_9152 img_9158Dear Readers, this time last year things were very different. As my regular readers will remember, Mum became very sick with sepsis while she and Dad were staying with me last Christmas, and although none of us realised it at the time, we came close to losing her. But today, as I write, Mum and Dad are dozing in their respective armchairs downstairs, safe from the elements, well-fed and warm. I cannot protect them from everything that may do them harm, just as they couldn’t always protect me when I was a child. But today, with the lights glowing on the Christmas  tree and the wind singing in the chimney, I am, just for a second, lit up myself with how lucky I am to still have them both with me, and to have the chance to care for them. It will not always be so, but, today, I am surrounded by those that I love.

img_9112Wishing a peaceful and happy festive season to all my readers, and hoping for a joyful, healthy and inspired 2017 for you all x

23 thoughts on “Just Before Christmas

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Thank you, Gubbinal, I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the blog. I wish you a happy, healthy and inspired 2017,a nd I’m off to look at your blog, because I cannot resist the title!

    2. Bug Woman Post author

      And I’m so glad that I visited! What a wonderful blog, Gubbinal. I l had never heard of Cynthia Jobin before, but will seek out some of her other poems. And the Victorian reading challenge sounds like fun!

      1. Gubbinal

        Thank you so much, Bug Woman. You notice things and I wonder if there are fewer cats in London now, or if more people keep their cats indoors? I’ve spent a far amount of time walking the streets in visits ranging from 3 weeks to 2 months (1985, 1992, 1993, 1997, 2004, 2009, 2015, 2016) and there seem to be fewer cats out and about each year.

  1. Anne Guy

    A lovely post glad to hear all is well with you and yours! I liked the snake squirrel too. I have been watching three nuthatches for weeks now hiding bits of peanut in any place they can, under plant pots, in little crannies in the hawthorn tree made by the woodpeckers even trying to post one through an open bedroom window! I had never seen it before but googled it and apparently it’s quite common and their name derives from this behaviour! Sadly the other birds have wised up to this and wait until the coast is clear and then go and steal the stashes! Is nature endlessly fascinating! All good wishes Anne

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Thank you, Anne – I’ve never seen nuthatches hiding peanuts, but I guess it makes sense! And thank you for supporting the blog this year, I love it when people comment. Wishing you a happy, healthy and inspired 2017 x

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Thank you, Andrea – I loved your post about your Christmas walk and the way your town was reclaimed by the gulls.. Walking around East Finchley today it was as if everyone had burst forth from their houses to alleviate the stir-craziness…

  2. Toffeeapple

    I like that picture of the squirrel too.

    You are lucky to have your parents with you and it is clear that you are enjoying their company.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Thanks, Toffeeapple! And yes, I am very lucky to still have both my parents around. I hope that you have a wonderful, happy and healthy 2017, and thank you for supporting the blog, I love it when people find the time to comment x

  3. Katya

    It’s always uplifting to read about your encounters with creatures and surroundings that might otherwise seem inaccessible, even ordinary, were they not filtered through your enlightened and often humorous lens. A Merry Christmas to you and your parents – glad they are doing so well!

  4. Moony

    Hi there, a fan from Singapore here. Your pictures are absolutely adorable, especially the one of the squirrel blur! And what you wrote about your parents made me think about my relationship with my parents, too, and reminded me of how precious time with family can truly be. Thank you for posting this, and I hope you have a happy holiday season and a great New Year 🙂

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Hi Moony, thank you for commenting! I visited Singapore about ten years ago, and found it a fascinating place. I was reading recently about how much was being done to encourage urban wildlife in Singapore, so I shall have to plan for another visit. I’m really glad that you enjoy the blog, and I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season too.


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