Wednesday 8 August 2018


And I got back to find that the swifts have flown – already (but then it always feels like 'already'). I thought they looked as if they were getting ready to go when we left for Dieppe, but was hoping they might hang on a little longer. After all, they got off to a belated start, not settling down until mid-May – but, like the butterflies, they recovered to enjoy a prodigious season, thanks to weeks of warm sunshine. I hadn't seen so many over our house in years.
  Susan Hill, writing in the Spectator, reports a complete absence of swifts in her neck of the woods (North Norfolk?) until, one July evening, they suddenly arrived – 'a few, then dozens, soaring, diving, swooping, crossbows in the blue sky'. Since then, she claims, she has done nothing but watch them, and she urges the rest of us to 'gaze while you can. Neglect everything. These are not birds, they are angels.' I hope they are still with her.


  1. House Martins everywhere in Cornwall including over the Minack Theatre and inside the wonderful church at Blisland on Bodmin Moor where the doors had been left open to let them fly out. Problem was more kept flying in!

  2. The following week in the Spectator a letter took Ms Hill to task for wrongly calling swifts hirundines................