Daughter had an interesting observation this morning. She started talking about Sinterklaas (the real Santa Claus). He lives in Spain and can’t go to work either. And he’s really old, so he doesn’t want to fall ill. So if he goes into the street and he falls ill, he needs to go to the hospital. She then finished her reasoning with a question. How would Sinterklaas get to the hospital? Because sick people can’t drive. Pretty smart reasoning for a person who is not even four yet.
As there is not that much exciting stuff happening in our home, I’m thankful for the birds visiting our garden. Daughter and I had breakfast while the pigeons entertained us this morning. They still seem to have their eyes set on a spot on the fence between our and our neighbour’s garden to build a nest. I say nest, but pigeons are the worst nest builders. Last year a couple tried to settle on eight twigs loosely put together in between the bamboo on our balcony, dangling above the water next to our house. So their current spot is already a big improvement over last year’s attempt. This morning one of them had a nice and long twig in its mouth to add to their new nest. The pigeon tried and tried, but the twig was too long to fit in between the branches to get to the nest. Together with Daughter I observed how persistent it was, but at the end the twig fell and the pigeon looked puzzled. I applauded the pigeon for trying so long. A good lesson to teach Daughter, since she is the kind of person to give up after one try. The things you learn while having breakfast.
We had a typical morning in this new era. The Man is working, the Daughter and I played for a bit after breakfast, got dressed and went outside to get some fresh air and a bit of physical exercise. Outside we follow a standard route: through the parc, around the school (not Daughters’ future school, but her best friends’), sometimes on to the farm, and then homewards following the bike path that passes the big slide and crosses our street at the other end. Along the way we see where it is quiet enough to play. This morning the parc was a bit too busy, so we went on to the farm. The farm itself is closed to the public (obviously) but you can walk past the grazing of the sheep and goats. Four lambs were born, so it’s a feast to watch those tiny creatures for a bit. Then we went on to a tiny playground. Only two other girls (sisters) were playing there, so there was enough space for Daughter and me to play for a bit. We ended up digging holes to burry a giant ant and its baby. As this playground was close to the home of a friend of mine, I called her and invited her outside for a chat. We chatted for half an hour,sitting at good distance from eachother, and then made our way home, with a last stop at the big slide.
The way we look for spots to play on our route is mainly focused on finding spots where no-one else is. It feels wrong on so many levels. It felt good to chat with my friend, but doing so at a distance felt awkward. The most awkward thing about it is Daughter’s already totally adjusting to the new situation. She’s the first one to say we can’t play somewhere because there are other kids. When all this is over we will have to reteach all young kids how to play with others.
A bit of distraction for today.
Albatross Soup is a delightfully fluid animation that lyrically complements a chorus of voices attempting to investigate a puzzling suicide: A man gets off a boat. He walks into a restaurant and orders albatross soup. He takes one sip… pulls out a gun, and shoots himself to death. So…why did he kill himself?
I’m having coffee and am joined by the Man and Daughter inside, and some tits and a tortle dove outside. Due to the warmer weather, the past two weeks have been courting season in our garden. Especially two wood pigeons have been displaying their new love for each other in our garden. They even appeared to be creating a nest in our garden. Let’s see if they proceed with this, now that the winter we never had sets in. A cold wind is blowing today and over the next few days temperatures will drop below zero during the night. An event we haven’t seen all winter.
The water birds are preparing for spring as well. Coots are courting and trying to claim this piece of water bordering our house all for themselves. The one pair of ducks paddling here as well don’t let them scare off, resulting in some distant rows every now and then paired with the usual spring and summer bird sounds I’ve gotten used to.
I haven’t seen the mouse for a long time. I suspect it fell prey to either a cat or a magpie (who frequent our garden to feast on the bird’s peanut butter).
While sipping my coffee more birds join me outside. Despite our clock adjustment during the night our coffee time is still in sync with the birds’. I find it comforting to watch the birds just doing what they always do. They must have noticed different behaviour from humans over the past few weeks. I wonder what their gossip about humans is. Or whether they couldn’t care less. All I know is that the birds visting my garden are thankful for the new food we ordered. It will keep them fed in a very convenient way during the cold week to come.
My friend Mark is a podcast veteran living in Amsterdam. While biking yesterday I listened to his latest episodes. He interviewed some of his friends on living through the corona crisis. Great stories to listen to from different parts of the world.