Some mornings I cannot get JoJo to settle. No matter what I try her little face scrunches up, she grizzles and squirms in my arms. In a last bid attempt to maintain my sanity, I usually resort to popping her into the buggy and wheeling her into the back garden for some fresh air.
Today is one of those days. By mid morning the sky above the farmhouse is blue and thick with bird song. Sparrows nesting in the eaves of the feathering loft chirrup and chatter as we commence our ritual lap of the garden. A chaffinch trills from its vantage point on the roof of the cow man’s caravan. We make our way across the newly mown lawn and turn into the ruins of the old chicken shed.
Along one of the walls our log pile is stacked, with a layer of bark and leaf litter at its base. Behind this lies the boundary hedge, a tangled mess of nettles, pink Campion, hawthorn, oak, and sycamore. Bird song drifts down from the branches above; I am an amateur with bird calls, but manage to pick out notes from robin, blackbird, chaffinch and wren. We trundle through the ruined shed and bump across a narrow slate path back onto the grass. JoJo is still awake, eyes heavy but resisting sleep. I head across the lawn towards the farmhouse. A male sparrow peeks out from the old House martin nest on the gable wall, whilst another perches on the satellite dish below. We loop past the side gate, and start to retrace our tracks.
A loud ‘chak-chak’ alerts me to a jackdaw sitting sentry in a sycamore tree. It has a nest in a hollow halfway up the trunk of this tree, well hidden from view by foliage. I push the buggy back through the ruins, jamming the wheels on a loose stone the size of a tennis ball. I stoop to release it and notice a spiders web stretching between a pile of bricks and the vacant dog house. An orb spider sits in the middle, waiting patiently for a fly.
We continue back round onto the lawn, as swallows wheel,dive and roll above us. I walk towards the gate that leads onto the muddy cow track, and looks out across the fields to the Preseli hills beyond. A bird of prey soars above the ox park, its distinctive forked tail identifying it as a Red Kite. I pause to check on my passenger. Fast asleep! Peace reigns at last.