I garden in my organic garden and watch the eco-birds recycling bits of garden waste by picking them up in their beaks for their eco-nests. I smile fondly at a blackbird and a pair of ring-collar doves who are constructing such a nest in the cypress in next door's garden. From its dark depths I can hear the doves cooing. I don't like the cypress, a frumpy Victorian widow of a tree. Cypresses are for Italian hillsides, not suburban gardens, but they are good cover and I feel like St Francis blessing the birds.
Then I see a pretty blue tit with debris in its beak and it flies into a hole in the wall of my house. And I turn from St Francis into a property owner, thinking, repointing. Every bit of mortar in these stones is going to have to be replaced. No wonder the damp is getting in. I would normally be charmed by seeing a blue tit entering a small opening in a wall, its beak clutching nest building materials but not my wall, all right? Not (literally) in my backyard.
Robert, the handyman was round to move some of the paving. He looked at my walls. "They need repointing," he said.
"A blue tit has built its nest there so we can't repoint until it and its chicks have gone," I said. "That won't be until late summer, surely."