Friday, 7 June 2013


Here at Mas Blanc, where I have just come back after a week away in other parts of France, this is a season filled with the sound of music, especially now that the heavy rains and cold winds have abated. Everybody and his uncle -- birds included -- is singing Halleluyah or the avian equivalent...There are sparrows, redtails, thrushes, blackbirds and nightingales all doing their best .... "peep peep, cheep-cheep, twiddle-oo-churr-churr, dix-huit dix-huit, and coo-coo-coolly coooooo"... This latter song-cycle being the ring-necked doves who have again decided, as they do nearly every year, to raise their young in the vicinity of the house. Usually they've picked a spot high up in the enormous  micocoulier tree that shades the terrace, and often the winds that sweep through this time of year have tossed their nests to the ground. This year, however, they've picked a nicely sheltered spot so close to the house that they've been using my bedroom window sill as a spot to bill&coo, a kind of lift-off site from which they foray fluttering forth.

So whaddya think, lovey-dovey, shall we settle down & make a nest?
As it happened this year, the perfect spot offered itself to these two as they sat on my window railing, considering their options... "Why yes... the cedar hedge right across from us! why did we never think of that before!" Several days of flying around with bits of straw from the garden in their beaks, and before you could even look surprised, there it was, a nest with Mother Dove well enconsced and looking, well, decidedly broody...

Oh honey, this is the BEST nest in which I've EVER laid an egg..
So now I've been away for more than a week -- more about that in the next post -- and still Mrs. Dove is sitting there looking for all the world like one VERY bored bird, waiting for the birdlings to hatch. (So I was very very glad to read Kerry's post on her blog PICKLE ME THIS, letting us know that long-awaited baby Iris has indeed made a happy appearance... Congratulations all round! )

Mr. Dove comes and goes as is his wont, and does the occasional "waiting to be called to the delivery room" pose just so I can snap his photo.  I do like birds and I prefer to think of these pretty doves as "higher creatures" than pigeons, even though the birdshit on my windowsill would be hard to distinguish, one from the other....

Is this my good side? Am I divinely gorgeous?
Now, just a little teaser for the next post, to explain where I've been and why... I drove up to Nantes (in Brittany where the Loire begins to open out into the Atlantic,) to attend ATLANTIDE, an international literary festival organized by my old friend, Alberto Manguel. Here's the poster that adorned the Centre des Congres where the three-day event took place, an image more than appropriate for the festival itself and for Alberto's influence in choosing the writers who came -- that is, reading... reading and books, and more books and more reading, and more books....more ideas, more conversations, more exchanges, more and more and more.