THE SWALLOWS RETURN

Yesterday I saw a swallow (technically a swift.) It was solitary and high in the sky, but I was very relieved to see it. I think this is very late and I was beginning to fear that they would not come at all. One swallow does not make a summer as the old adage reminds us but a complete absence of swallows would make for a disaster.

Today however at Wakehurst I saw a dozen or so, and was reassured.

On our abortive trip to France, we spent three days on a site on a curve of the Seine River as it meanders through the Seine Maritime. There were small ferries that puttered back and forth from South Bank to North and back again. They took traffic across on a first come, first served basis, without charge through the river’s repeated meanderings. I found the terrain completely confusing and never had any idea of which side of the river we were on, much to John’s irritation. There was often a morning mist and swallows would hurtle out of the pale banks of pearly clouds at breakneck speed, skimming the surface of the water. They were the real thing too, with crimson throats and iridescent dark blue forked tails.

Even earlier this year I had observed swallows in the garden of our house in Portugal, where they were as speedy and dextrous as Renaldo – but then Portugal is barely a stone’s throw from Africa, so that hardly counted..

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