Constricted as we are in travelling about, the garden has become even more of a discovery zone; after around fourteen years of no pesticides and pretty much free range to all weeds every corner of it is a verdant surprise this year.
Maybe it's my imagination but there seem to be more insects, frogs and birds than usual. But not just in our garden, the whole area feels more alive: more bird song, uncut verges brimming with wild flowers and grasses. Nature must be nodding her head, hands on hips, smiling as she looks around: "Yep, this is better, yep, heading in a better direction . . .
We have a large collared dove population in the garden, a few resident pairs who nest - or attempt to nest - usually in bizarre places with no structure. This year a pair decided on a hastily constructed twig 'platform' in a large bush next to the terrace, so we were able to observe the whole young dove life cycle from egg to almost fully grown bird.
It was incredible how quickly the two lumps of fluff turned into miniature doves and then took their first wobbly flights, a matter of perhaps three weeks in all. . .
I felt quite proud as I watched them flap away as we had played a part in their maturity - the parent birds having largely nourished themselves and their offspring from our grain, and quite sad to loose that amazing little bit of life detail so close to the house.
Slightly blurry picture of the young birds as the camera homed in on the vegetation