Thursday, 30 May 2013

Little Birdie

Suddenly it seems that after a long period of treading water, exciting things are starting to happen. There has been some sewing going on lately, usually late at night into the small hours. Also, a bit of studying (nice to get the brain fired up again), and preparation for a new job starting next week.  

Beaky, our family blackbird died the other week aged (at least) 8 during an intense hailstorm. The average age for blackbirds is about 2 1/2 years. He was looking after one of his newly fledged chicks until he died, a task we took on which entailed chopping up earthworms. Chicky (officially called Ollie) is doing well and visits the back door for snacks of blueberries and cheese. S/he can dig up his own worms and grubs now. 
Until I started keeping the company of blackbirds, I couldn't really tell one bird from another. They all seem to look pretty similar, especially at a distance. But Beaky had a bright yellow-orange crooked beak and an idiosyncratic way of moving so he was easy to spot, and the more I watched the birds in our garden, the easier it was to tell them apart. Sometimes he would sit with us and sunbathe in that funny way birds do with their beaks open and their wings stretched out. He and Mr K spent most dry mornings having breakfast together at the bottom of the garden. 

It got me thinking about a statement I heard when I was doing some work training years ago -"all behaviour is the communication of an unmet need". I don't know if Beaky sat with us because he just liked to hang out with us or was there another specific purpose - to show other birds he had big friends who'd look out for him, or to keep us sweet so we'd continue to provide him with snacks... if the statement can always be proven, how do qualities like free will or altruism fit in - I suppose they don't..? Do we ever do anything purely as an abstract or ultimately non self-serving act? I hope so, I don't want to accept a mechanistic explanation for everything we do. 

It has been strange in the garden in the evenings; Beaky's son Frankenbird leads the evening song from the roof of our house and appears to be top bird now. The birds seem to fight less, maybe because in Beaky's absence they each have a bit more territory. The swallows are nesting in the garage, forgiven for crapping all over our bikes and the lawn mower because they are such amazing acrobats and come back to us every year from their exotic adventures. 

Back to the sewing then...the impending new work role means no more turning up for work in manky old jeans. I am going to have to look a little smarter; I might even have to get a proper hairdo. I have bought myself some sensible new work shoes that remind me of the pastry lids on scotch pies. My younger self would have been horrified to even contemplate wearing such ugly shoes but man, they are comfortable!   
Scotch pie

I have nipped in the waistband of last year's sewing challenge trousers to improve the fit and have them in wearable condition for work. I've also been involved in a sewing bee at work, on the right is a picture showing a wee detail of a background I made for others to embellish. I used bondaweb, three different fabrics and some sharp scissors. Other people have subsequently added a ship and some breakers to it using applique and stitching. 

Next month will be busy as I settle into my new job and get started on my next course assignment. I'm hoping there'll be time for a quick sewing or knitting project. A friend is due a baby in July so I should get something on the needles quickly...

Not much info to share on the new job yet. I will find out more when I get there, but it sounds like a bit of an adventure - still social care - but with more out-and-about activities and some research. Sensible shoes will come in handy.

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