B and John are Swallows. In other words, they spend six months here in South Africa and six months in England. I have one more week with them before they leave for England once more. I am dreading their departure. B is my Soulmate. How am I to function without her?!
The other thing that I am going to miss badly is their magical garden. I want to saturate myself in it so that the memory remains crystal clear. Let me tell you about it.
When one looks out at it one sees forests, mountains and sky! Their garden doesn’t have a fence so I’m unsure where it actually ends and the rest of the world comes in! One goes down their patio steps to be met by a beautiful green lawn that goes down to this tumbling little stream. This stream is overshadowed by reeds. Two months ago it was a hive of activity as the weavers made their nests. The males were in constant motion ducking and diving as they constructed these wonderful, tiny abodes. Then their female love would come and inspect her living quarters and decide that there was no way that she was living in this shoddy apparition! Honestly!!! The male had forgotten to put in such and such and the inside was far too small. Systematically and with total thoroughness, she would tear it to shreds. You could almost see the male take a big gulp and then off he would fly. He would look heartbroken. But not for long. A few moments later he would return and the weaving of a new nest would begin!
The male birds are a beautiful bright yellow in colour. The females are a mousy green. This probably explains their stroppiness over the nests. “Yah, you might be a good looking hunk, but can hunks build good houses? I think NOT!”
John has cut a plank of a Bluegum tree to form a bridge over the stream. This leads to a tiny hillock. There John has placed a bird feeder much to their intense delight. I love watching this entire family of guinea fowl make their way across the bridge. And I mean ENTIRE family. Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles included! Skedadling amongst them is their one child, the smallest, sweetest guinea fowl ever! Once the guinea fowl and birds have fed and left, there is almost a pause in the feeding frenzy. But not quite. A tiny mouse darts out from the nearby foliage, grabs a piece of grain and then…whissssk…he is gone. A few moments later, seeing the coast is still clear, the entire process is repeated. Perdita, my wire haired dachshund, on going across the bridge one morning, smelled the mouse. High, intense excitement followed as she vainly tried to root the mouse out. Since then we place a barrier on the bridge preventing Perdita’s escapades. Highly frustrating for her but the mouse is back!
B and John regularly “borrow” a little Jack Russell, Rainbow. What a character that dog is! She is the only dog I’ve ever come across that actually pulls her mouth into a cheeky grin. She loves bringing this stick for you to throw in the stream. Then quick as a flash she is in after it and the wet stick is deposited at your feet with a wagging Rainbow ready for the whole process to begin again. It’s fine for the first couple of times but after the fourth or fifth throw one has had enough. It is then a case of: “No, Rainbow, I’ve finished throwing your stick now.You go and amuse yourself.” And she does. She takes the stick onto the bridge and then nudges it so that it falls off the bridge into the water. It’s then a case of: ‘Ah, the stick has been thrown into the water. I’ll fetch it!’ She runs off the bridge, dives into the stream, joyfully collects the stick and the whole process begins again! I have included a video of Rainbow, the bridge and the stick. You will smile out loud!
While having breakfast on the patio one morning we watched a Woodland Kingfisher plunging head first into the water catching his meal. His magical feathered body matched the surrounding kaleidoscope of the day. It was a crystal clear morning where the colours seemed to smash you in the face with their intensity. I took a picture of it all in my mind so that I can re-look at that moment whenever I am needing a bit of colour in my life.
B and John often hold dinner parties outside on their patio at night. One watches the sun go down and then it happens. The orchestra of crickets begin! These birds of the night play the most wondrous melodies. The crickets are joined by a chorus of frogs and these two harmonise together. The sound is too wondrous for words! I just rejoice in what this previously deaf person is now able to hear. It is such a rich cacophony of sound. I think back to my “deaf ” days when the joyful sound of the crickets that I now hear would have been this unendurable loud clamouring noise. A noise so horrific it would have prevented me from possibly picking up anything that anyone said at the table. Now it is a different case completely. Now I choose to luxuriate in the sound whilst keeping a gentle appraisal of the goings on at table. I had forgotten the crickets and frogs wonderful orchestrations. In B and John’s garden the orchestra plays. Like my birds of the daylight, these “birds” of the night sing a song that is equally unforgettable to me.
Yes, I will miss B and John.
And oh, how I will long for their garden!