COVID-19 Journal: Day 48

Two days ago I noticed the ginger cat attentive to the space behind my back door. They get that certain look when there's prey about, and he had that look. Within the next 30 minutes or so, he's snagged a baby bird and brought it inside the house. Their safe place is my front room, from where I write to you now. I quickly grabbed a tea towel and went to try to retrieve the bird. The cat let me. The bird was not looking good. A slightly bloody right eye. It sqwaked when I picked it up. Is that how you spell squwaked? Or is it squwacked? It's squawked. Anyway. I picked it up and took it into the garden. Its parents were both there, having been aware of the cat. They were angry or alarmed and hovering from branch to branch. One came close to my head. I laid the bird down gently on the table. I gave it a quick look and saw it had a bloody mouth. I patted it - just two tiny strokes. I left it to see if it would make it.

I closed the cats inside, and went about my business. The parents stayed around. I didn't recognise them. I obviously hoped they were tits, but, Kim said they were goldfinches.


Beauties! And very stressed. They flew about above the baby. The baby was hardly moving. I realised putting it up on the table may have been an error when it managed to flop to the edge and promptly fell/flew off when my back was turned. It was also spectacularly well camouflaged in the bamboo leaf litter so was a little hard to keep tabs on. Darkness fell.

The next day the parents were still there. The cat had not forgotten and he paced around my toes at the back door as I surveyed the scene. The day before he had spoken to me more than ever before in the ten years we've been living together. LET ME OUT, he said. Then, I saw the wobbly flash of the fledgling, at the base of the ledge by the back. Movement! Life! Joie de vivre all round! Oui oui! And the rest of the day the parents flitted around still helpless but watching -- no thumbs -- and wherever the baby was, you can bet it was sore and possibly not breathing well, and its wing was bad but, perhaps a miracle was about to happen!

Aaand, this morning I was wandering about in the sunny morning garden showing my family the bamboo adventures on our call and I spotted the dead fledgling. Darn it. The parents will still around. I wonder what they were thinking. I buried the baby. Hung up the call. Got on with things.

And then I spotted the second fledgling in my front room. Or rather, the bottom half of the second fledgling. Darn it. The most drama I've witnessed for 48 FUCKING DAYS.

After all that, I've somehow found myself drawn to two works by Oscar Wilde: De Profundis and The Ballad of Reading Gaol. I'd wanted to read De Profundis because I think I knew he'd written that from prison, and, liking Wilde as I do, I wanted to read what he'd written there, then. I managed to find an audio version of both, read by Simon Callow. Perfect. Also included were Mr. Callow's reflections on these works and Wilde's life, which I enjoyed.

I listened to it as I rode around the city. I headed south from my house, almost to the river and then headed for the Strand, to Trafalgar Square, through the big arch towards the Palace, turned right before I reached it and into Mayfair. Passed Christie's, Napoleon III's house (1848), Chatham House, Fortnum's, Royal Academy of Art, The Ritz, Saville Row, Soho, (closed) Bar Italia... through Fitzrovia, back around King's Cross, moaning at the closed Dishoom, and through Islington and home.

The Ballad, Callow says, is "a howl of great pain and protest," and it was. 

I know not whether laws be right or whether laws be wrong
All that we know who lie in gaol is that the wall is strong
And that each day is like a year
A year whose days are long.

I did have an ice cream to end my ride. Magnum Mint.