Sunday, July 29, 2012

stop swifts double


Don't walk. Stay put on the curb.

Before the jet stream changed course again, a couple of evenings ago on a warm evening  after a rare warm day, we are sitting in the garden beside the scaffolding. "Swifts," says Mrs P. and sure enough we hear, before we see them, their high pitched cries  as they slice the air in  pursuit of insects less agile then they. They are flying higher than usual, and despite estimations of their scarcity this year, more than I have seen  together round here for a long time, perhaps 20 or 30 of them high above the roof tops, constantly on the move.

"Double? " Danny recalls working in a bar when he was 17. A big bloke with a tattoo on his neck ask for a gin. "Double or single?  Silly question: "Does a bird fly on one wing?" was the response which 30 years later he hasn't forgotten.  Danny likes to quote songs "Nine o'clock on a Saturday night. There's an old man sitting next to me, making love to his tonic and gin."






4 comments:

Lucy said...

I've noticed it's a good year for swifts. Swallows are there in adequate numbers, and wake me early by singing from the old TV aerial, but not plentiful. 'Slicing the air' is good; I liked Derek Walcott's line 'Swifts practise their archery'.

Plutarch said...

And then again D H Lawrence on swallows
"weaving nets to catch the wind"

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

The photo reminds me of the glorious Anne Grunberg days when the journalists in her class sought the way to her heart by creating more and more elaborate devoirs. As I recall you used the zebra-crossing signals (Allez Pietons, Stop) as a metaphor for some kind of political party while I, in incredible toadying fashion, described how I intended to climb le Mont Subjonctif with the help of my guide Grunberg.

Those days ended with a dinner at RSJ to which spouses were invited. Mine, typical of the rest, turned a dubious eye on all that chatter and observed that AG's mother was more attractive than AG herself. Never, I said to myself secretly, never.

Plutarch said...

Thanks for the additional memories. The texture thickens. I remember that dinner at RSJ. Monsieur G was an odd cove. He had just been to see the film version of L'Histoire d'O and pronounced it "beautiful".