Gradually, Ian washed his hands of that house and by default Shirley and I ended up as a landlord and landlady - not something we had ever wanted. We used savings to pay off the mortgage and for the past seven years we have rented the house out to strangers.
When Ian lived there I used to cut the privet hedge at the back and mow the little lawn. This carried on right through to 2017 when the current tenants moved in. He is a Canadian academic working at The University of Sheffield and she is amongst other things a translator, specialising in Spanish.
When they moved in, I told them about the previous gardening and hedge-trimming arrangements but Dr Maple-Leaf said that he would be happy to do it all himself. Oh yeah! Right.
It is amazing how big a privet hedge can grow in five and a half years. Today, Shirley and I went over to the house to trim that hedge right back following a plea from Dr Maple-Leaf.
We took over everything we would need - including stepladders, sweeping brush and big heavy duty builders' bags for carting the massive pile of trimmings to the nearest recycling centre (i.e. council dump!).
It was a hot morning but we soon got stuck into the job and all was going well until I came across a robin's nest on the higher part of the now twelve foot hedge. It contained four bright blue eggs and later I spotted the mama robin hopping around. Naturally, my work on that part of the hedge ceased and I moved along. Then three feet later I discovered another nest containing three or four hatchlings - baby wood pigeons with their eyes still closed but they were squirming around in their downy birthplace.
I left that area of the hedge and moved to the very end where I discovered a third nest. I don't know what was in there for I could not see in and it might have been an old nest but I left it all the same. That was three nests in a hedge that is only twelve feet long.!
We gathered all the hedge trimmings, squashing them into the builders' bags and headed off to the recycling centre. They pretty much filled the back of Clint - my South Korean automobile. He was none too happy about being used as a refuse vehicle.
I was determined to get that job done today but it remains only half-finished because of the nests. We will have to go back in a couple of weeks to try again. Meantime we hope the birds succeed in raising their young in spite of our unwelcome disturbance.
I guess you'll have to wait for your "feathered" tenants, or are they squatters, to move out.ReplyDelete
They are not paying any rent so I guess they are squatters.Delete
The best laid plans of mice and men...ReplyDelete
...often go awry.Delete
I wonder how many hedges Robbie Burns trimmed.
The hedge may be a maintenance nightmare but apparently it is very good bird habitat.ReplyDelete
If I had promised to trim the hedge, I'd be too embarrassed to call the landlord and I'd have to pay somebody.
If the hedge had been properly maintained there would not have been any nests.Delete
It always amazes me how quickly baby birds go from that gawky, ugly, featherless stage to fully fledged birds flying about and fending for themselves.ReplyDelete
Some things are miraculous.Delete
I have four blue eggs in a deluxe efficiency on a pole in my back yard. The first new tenants in two years. But in my case the are bluebirds and not robins.ReplyDelete
Well I hope they hatch and the little nestlings fledge as nature intended.Delete
Shame on Dr. Maple-Leaf! I have written you a poem to try to atone for his behavior:ReplyDelete
I'm sorry my fellow Canuck
Was a delinquent schmuck
The guy seems rather arrogant. Are all Canadians like that?Delete
I'm glad you have a soft heart, Neil, and left the nests alone so the birds could use them. What a sweet story!ReplyDelete
That was my intention Ellen. In the background I have had to delete two comments from trolls rudely berating me for cutting the urban hedge. Nitwits!Delete
That is one ugly baby pigeon, good thing they grow feathers. I'm sure their mamas are very glad you stopped for them. A twelve foot hedge, omg. That's a lot of work.ReplyDelete
I looked privets up and they can grow one to two feet a year. Yikes.
They are not a native species. I believe that privet was brought from the Indian sub-continent.Delete
To use one of my dear old Ma's favorite descriptions, "that wee bird is so ugly it's cute".ReplyDelete
My mother used to say that about me.Delete
The robins eggs are definitely nicer to look at than the new pigeon. Having said that The Tigger would much prefer the new pigeon.ReplyDelete
What? To eat?Delete
Might be best to wait until autumn.ReplyDelete
In Sheffield I trim my own hedges three or four times between the end of May and the end of September. That is what most homeowners do with privet.Delete
If you were here in Germany, you'd have everything about that hedge and the rest of the gardening written down in the contract; what are the tenants' duties and what befalls the landlord. Of course none of this guarantees that the jobs are done properly and on time (if at all); often, landlords and their tenants disagree about such things. I am glad that I have no responsibilities in either direction - my small flat is mine (or will be in about 6 years), and I have no tenants to check on.ReplyDelete
The robin's nest is so beautiful! I am amazed at there still being so many birds in the process of making and raising a family; I would have thought they finish before summer really starts.
I agree. Most nesting activity has finished by now. With regard to the tenant-landlord relationship, in most instances in England there are strict tenancy agreements but I didn't want that legalistic bond.Delete
Oh Mr. Pud, you should know better than to be cutting hedges at nesting time! Hope the little ones will be OK.ReplyDelete
In most instances nesting time is over now. Besides, the tenants who are members of The Green Party by the way said nothing about nests and they live right next to that hedge. I cut my own hedges three or four times each spring/summer.Delete
As long as they remain undisturbed I'd say the baby birds will be okay. Just keep an eye on the hedge and once they have all fledged, go back and finish the trimming. I'm not sure how long it takes, each species of bird is different I think, but several weeks at least.ReplyDelete
I suspect that you are right River. We may well have to leave it longer.Delete
I have read about birds like wood pigeons not laying their eggs until September. Probably best to leave your feather squatters for a while YP.ReplyDelete
They were newly hatched wood pigeons. I will have to research how long it might take for them to leave that nest.Delete
The birds must have felt safe to build their nests in the hedge. The higher up, the further away from cats.ReplyDelete
It will be cooler if you wait until autumn to finish off your hedge trimming.
To tell you the truth, I enjoyed working in the heat. The little birds are more important to me than the hedge.Delete
Miaow. As a member of the GP, I love the idea of three nests in 12 foot of privet hedging - stay your shears, till the fledglings grow up. See the world does revitalise itself occasionally - rejoice. Privet hedges were popular around my childhood, there was a distinctive smell about there little white flowers and then beech hedges became common, which are definitely more difficult to build nests in.ReplyDelete
The mother birds were clearly swooping down amidst the overgrown privet twigs on top of the hedge. Cool, hidden and away from danger. I hope there is now no abandonment of the nests.Delete
Some birds like Robin's have more than one clutch of eggs.ReplyDelete
I had only vaguely realised that.Delete
So did he not remember promising to take care of the hedge? People are driving me nuts lately. Correction: I'm allowing them to drive me nuts.ReplyDelete