It's a bit cold, isn’t it?
Aarghh. Horrible, horrible cold. Wind biting through your bones type cold. Wearing thermal socks in bed type cold (I couldn't cope without them). I’m so bored of it now.
The only good thing about it as far as I’m concerned is the profusion of birds it brings into the garden. For the first time we have a lot of siskins here. The huge number of sightings in gardens is a bit of a phenomenon this Winter, apparently. If you’re a bird-nerd like me you may enjoy this time lapse film of the activity around some feeders (not mine)... (Although, it has to be said that there isn't much of a plotline!)
...and some siskins viewed through my shedio window this morning. Snow too.
Not as many siskins in our garden as in the film, but plenty of bluetits, one of which I’ve been keeping an eye on because he has an unusual deformity which has caused his beak to grow to a freakish length. It’s about an inch long, maybe more. (You can see/read more about this condition here.) Cyrano (I had to give him a name, of course) has adapted brilliantly by tilting his head on the side to pick up seed or fat fragments from the ground as he can’t use the feeder, he then takes them to an upright branch which he pins them against with his improbably long bill, meaning he can eat side-on too. I’m impressed.
At least the birds stay outside, unlike the tiny baby bank vole which I found in the kitchen the other day. I only knew he was there by a weird chattering, clicking sound – I had no idea what the noise was and followed it quizically like a sniffer dog following a scent, to find a rather exhausted looking ball of fur in a corner. I don’t know how he got in although we’ve had mice getting trapped in the cavity wall before; we only knew about that when the whiff of roasted rodent wafted in from behind the radiator pipes. This little vole did look pretty traumatised, probably from climbing over those old mouse remains behind the wall, the horror of their fates petrified forever like the victims of Pompeii (or so I imagine). Anyway, he didn’t move much so I was able to pick him up, then popped him under a plant outside and when I checked later he’d gone. I like to think that Ma vole came and fetched him (aww), giving him a whiskery hug but then squeaking sternly, “I told you NOT to go off on your own! Where’ve you been?” although I realise it’s possible that he may just have become elevenses for the neighbour’s podgy cat.
Not the same vole... but cute or what?
Then there are the even smaller intruders. As I let the washing-up water drain away this morning I noticed something kinda leggy in the bottom of the sink… you’ve guessed it, yes: a spider. Well, I’m ok with spiders and this one was particularly clean as well (covered in Fairy Liquid bubbles) so I scooped her up on a piece of kitchen roll and took her outside too. She looked limp and lifeless, and I didn’t hold out much hope but an hour or so later she started moving again and then crawled softly away (it seems that legs that do dishes can be soft as your face… I bet she smelt all fresh and lemony too). That made me happy.
I was less happy, however, when I pulled back the duvet last night to get into bed. (If you're easily freaked out, you may want to skip this bit...) I like to entwine my legs with another’s as much as you probably do, but two legs will suffice. Not eight. He was on the underside of the duvet, if you please, and if a spider could look as if it had just been caught doing something it shouldn’t, then this one did. I know it’s freezing out there but come on, they’re supposed to be used to this kind of thing – next you know they’ll be moaning about cold feet. And that’s a lot of thermal bed socks to get.