Jonathan: Friday 13th – unlucky for some, it’s said. But not for us, this time at least : Spring has arrived at last! I can’t tell you how much I love blackbirds, especially their song. I only noticed him when, as I was pottering about at the back of the house, I stopped to think through some minor difficulty with an even more minor task : I heard a faint whistle, but more musical than that of the all-too familiar ‘whish’ of a cold wind over the top of the garden wall. I looked up – there he was, his body motionless other than barely perceptible palpitations at his throat, and a slight rocking with the wind. In past years I’ve heard a male blackbird, in the gloom of a late winter afternoon, somewhere amongst the logs of the wood store, singing so softly, so quietly as if teetering at the very threshold of silence. Who but himself was he singing for, or could hear him? I’ve thought that such song is sung solely for the encouragment of the singer himself – as a relief to the long and lonely – and hungry – months of winter. But today was different: though the wind was still cold and brisk, the warming early spring sunshine had encouraged him up on to the high ledge of the wall to sing his song for almost half an hour in the same spot. Though still too quiet to be heard more than few metres away, he song was now of the colour and vigour that are the very essence of early Spring, when hope yields to expectation, and patient stillness to the joyful exuberence of life renewed and rediscovered.
Denise: Mum’s in respite care for 4wks, and Jonathan’s taken over many of my duties: I’m recuperating from an operation. However, I’m now fit to drive again, and I feel in need of a wee excursion, albeit one with a purpose. Today I’m going with J on his routine trip to Harris, and I’ll leave him on site and nip up to Tarbert for a bit of shopping. Now Tarbert is not exactly a major shopping destination, but there’s the Harris Tweed shop, and I need to stock up on fabric for making cushions and other stuff for the #HebrideanWoolshed. I’ve not been to Haris for a few years, and Tarbert for even more, so over breakfast this morning J drew a street map on a piece of kitchen towel: who needs a SatNav!
Denise: We’re both self-employed based at home and nothing remotely fixed about our working hours, so dread of returning to work after a holiday is not something we’ve been much troubled by for many a year. But the last leg of Jonathan’s last construction project before he retires (from construction) is more than a bit daunting. It drains the time and energy He has for the other things we do – the things we actually came to the islands to do, and which are becoming ever more pressing.