Thursday, 23 December 2010

Attaboy Clarence

As many people tend to say at this time of year, It doesn't feel like Christmas to me, though watching through the window of my cozy flat as the fluffy flakes of snow gently float down once again, it certainly looks like Christmas. Last year was the first white Christmas in many years in Edinburgh, and this year has been no exception with the first falls arriving late November. It had all but disappeared by last weekend, then during the night on Saturday it came back with a vengeance. Ever since it's stayed well below freezing and it still looks as fresh as the day it fell.

I've done my fair share of wandering the shops, and noticed just how much we seem to rise to the will of the advertisers; buying more food than we can possibly consume, though some give it a good try; pushing and shoving our way through endless crowds to obtain that must-have-but-will-be-broken-in two-days present; then queuing endlessly to part with our hard earned money. Isn't it so much more than this? I'm was on the search for the answer.

One big effect of all this snow and freezing temperatures, and worth remembering when we're buying all that food in excess, is our garden birds. These poor creatures are now struggling to find food and just as importantly, water. I put food in my garden every day, and defrost the bird bath twice a day. I always get regular visitors, such as starlings, sparrows and the occasional robin, but I think the word has gotten out in the neighbourhood that its party time in Graham's tiny 4m by 5m garden! The variety of birds now coming to the garden every day has astonished me, and confirmed just how desperate they are for food. In fact no sooner have I reached the back door after putting food out than they are down, scoffing away. For the record here's the list with the most numerous first. And this was just this morning:
Blue tits
Wood pigeon
Long tailed tit
Song thrush
I'm no Twitcher (the nickname for avid bird watchers) but I spent over an hour at the kitchen window, with a warming gingerbread latte, just watching all my feathered friends enjoying themselves.

Some of my other friends of the human variety, assembled last weekend at Andrew's house and enjoyed our annual viewing of James Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life, accompanied by vats of mulled wine and mince pies. No matter how many times I see that film it always makes me cry at the end, always at the same moment when James Stewart's character George Bailey opens the book Clarence left behind. Inside the inscription reads: "No man is a failure who has friends".

My closest friend is far away this year, currently basking in quite the opposite climate in south west Argentina, and I know she will be delighted at the list of visitors to the garden.

This time of year for me always reminds me of the value of friends, be that human or feathered, and the joy and love they bring to your life. I suppose that's what Christmas really feels like to me, and the answer to my search. Above all I miss those that are far away more than I can describe.

I found a nice friendship quote the other day: "True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but not in heart"

Merry Christmas everybody.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to you too!

I was wondering if there would be enough bird activity in the garden to use up all the out-of-date fruits and nuts from my baking cupboard this week, but I needn't have worried - there's nothing out there now except little birdy footprints in the snow!