You’ll probably be pleased to know that all three Robin youngsters are doing really well, but if you look very carefully at the left-hand side of the picture, I think it’s just possible to make out a fourth chick! I’m not absolutely certain, but I am about 90% sure. I think I’ll call this one “Reliant”!
Meanwhile, first thing this morning….“So, how’s the family then?” I felt a hand on my elbow as I waited patiently in the queue at the village post-office.
I half turned to put a face to the voice “Um? Oh, hi Mrs G….They’re all fine thank-you….My son’s still at university and absolutely loves life in the big city, my daughter’s doing her GCSE exams this Summer….she’s fifteen…..and my wife’s still got a bad back, but couldn’t wait to get back to work….to get away from me I guess! Heh heh heh!” I chuckled at my own so-called self-deprecation, expecting Mrs G (from just across the road), to laugh as well….if only out of sympathy!
Mrs G however, just stared at me blankly “That’s nice dear, but actually, I meant the Robins….How are the Robins?
“Uh? Oh….yes, of course….the ROBINS! Well….er, they’re fine….Couldn’t be better….Except I think there are four of them now….babies that is! I managed to overlook one somehow.”
“Four? That’s wonderful! You must be very proud!”
“Er….Yes….Yes, I am”
“What ‘ave you got to be proud about all of a sudden then?” Mrs R, the cashier, looked at me quizzically through the bomb-proof glass from the other side of the counter. It was my turn to be served all of a sudden. “Is there something you’re not telling us then?” Mrs R is Welsh!
“No….I’ve just got some Robins nesting behind my Buddlea is all”
“Oh you poor thing….Sounds very nasty! Robins you say….Are you taking anything for it at all? I do believe my Stan has still got some ointment left over from when he had his little problem two or three years ago….an’ I reckon Dorothy over there will be happy to help you apply it if you like” Dorothy had just been served ahead of me….her TV license stamps I think it was. Mrs R meanwhile, was on a roll….“Dorothy….DOROTHY….I said you’re good with your hands….Poor love, it’s deaf as a post she is….what with her tinnitus an' being eighty-seven an' all!”
I swear I could hear Mrs G tittering behind me….Mr K from down the farm up the lane looked across from the sorry excuse for a parcel he’d been wrapping since before I’d come in….“I think I still got a barrel of that stuff I used on’t pigs once….you’re mor’an welcome tert if ee like”
“Thank-you Mr K….Pigs you say?”
I tried to salvage some small vestige of my increasingly battered dignity by pretending to carry on as though I’d only just walked in the door…. “Twelve first-class stamps if you please Mrs R!”
“Sending a letter then are we dear? Would it be to anyone we know at all? Some kind of a Buddlea specialist perhaps?”
“Er….no, there’s nothing wrong with my Buddlea (more titters)! I’m off to Cornwall again later this week and, as you know perfectly well, I like to send a few postcards home to my daughter while I’m away”.
“Ah, right you are then dear….will you be wanting your usual bar of chocolate at all?” I struggled to find the hidden euphemism, but I actually suspect that Mrs R just wanted to know if I would like to buy a bar of chocolate! Life at your local rural post office can be very confusing at times, but I’ll certainly miss the place if the bl**dy Gover n ment finally has its way and gets rid of them all!