One Bonfire Night, perhaps thirty years ago, I hammered a spare tanalised fence post into the ground near our kitchen door. The intended purpose was simply to set off a few Catherine wheels on a couple of nails I knocked into the post. The morning after the fireworks, I thought to myself, "I'll turn that into a temporary bird table".
I got a circular shelf from an old portable barbecue and nailed it to the top of the post. That very day I put birdseed on my primitive new bird table and this feeding habit continued for the next three decades. At first I had thought, "That table might only last three or four years and then I'll have to replace it."
The table started to keel over a month ago -just before Christmas and then in a high wind this past weekend its useful life was over. Below ground level, the wood had finally rotted away. In the photo above you can see Phoebe's automobile, Clint Junior, surveying the tragic scene.
Fortunately, when Frances asked me what I wanted for Christmas I had had the foresight to say a new bird table from The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The box duly arrived but remained unopened until this afternoon.
I took all the parts out and laid them on our old dining room table along with the dreaded instructions. I hoped it would all be plain sailing - simply screw it all together and voila! But of course it wasn't. Some holes were pre-drilled but others weren't and I needed my own electric drill and a hammer to complete the job.
What should have taken an hour to do took almost three hours and it was dark by the time I finished. I had been hoping that the last picture in the sequence would show a gang of sparrows christening the new bird table but instead all I have got is the finished table waiting for tomorrow. If it lasts another thirty years, I will need to be 100 years old to witness that particular anniversary.