For the last couple of weeks a Walter Bird has been waking me every morning around 5:30 am. Here is his story.
As a little girl we lived next door to an elderly couple, Lucy and Jim.
When I was about three, I used to love to climb up onto the roof of our Rabbit hutch and call for them, “Juicy! Lim!” and they would come down their little garden path to talk to me.
Lucy would talk more often as Jim was always busy in the garden. No matter what the weather he was out there in his flat cap, digging his vegetables, picking runner beans or planting more. He used to hang shiny things around the garden to keep the birds from eating his raspberries and carrots. They used to spin in the breeze and catch the light so that they would sparkle.
If ever he wasn’t there he would be ‘up the allotment’ just below the graveyard, a couple of miles away. He swore blind the vegetables and fruit grew better there. The water that ran down the hill was full of nutrients from the graves he would say.
A warm, friendly couple, they always had visitors, one of which being Lucy’s brother, Walter.
Walter liked to garden too and used to irritate Jim by standing just behind him, telling him he was ‘doing that wrong’, or ‘they’d do better if’. But, he would just sigh, nod his head and carry on. It had been the same for years. Every time Walter turned up, Jim would hear him coming out of the back door and he would groan. But he always had a friendly hello.
One day Jim wasn’t in the garden at all. Or the next. Or the next. We found out that Walter had died and didn’t see Jim in the garden again until after Walter’s funeral.
A few days later, Jim stuck his trusty fork in the earth and bent down to plant out some seedlings from the greenhouse. The noise he heard made him jump out of his skin! Spinning around he saw a big, fat blackbird perched on his fork handle making as much noise as a road drill.
“Clear off,” he told the bird “you aren’t getting my seedlings!” But the blackbird didn’t move. He just sat there, making lots of noise.
The blackbird did eventually go, but was back the next day and the next. It always perched behind Jim, and always made lots of noise as he tended his garden.
One day, Jim turned to Lucy. “You know who that is don’t you;” he said “It’s only bloomin’ Walter. He nagged me about my garden everyday of his life, and he hasn’t stopped now he’s dead!”
Every few days the Walter Bird would show up. Jim would just sigh, nod his head and carry on. He had, after all, been listening to it for years.
And that’s why all blackbirds are called Walter.