Tuesday, 2 October 2007

It's those owls again

There are odd moments that you just know will become part of your life's lexicon to be shared, told and retold to friends and others til the end of your storytelling time. Small moments can be as precious as the big occasions.
The other night, after dinner, sitting quietly with a book by the fireplace, a whistling, vibrating, not entirely musical Schoenbergesque trilling echoed precisely down the chimney, landing directly in my ear.
The fireplace is big - years ago it housed the farmhouse range - and because there is no central heating and the need is great, contains a sizeable woodburner, the flue concentrating what was a vast open chimney into a more smokeless and comfortable arrangement. I quietly opened the doors of the stove to let the sound through even more keenly. Although it had never happened before I knew at once that there was a barn owl hooting straight down the chimney. The sound bounced around the room, truly eery and utterly unlike the infuriating but friendly tapping on the window of the blue tits munching by day on the linseed oil putty.
Opening the front door slowly, with lights kept off and dogs kept in, softly stepping across the cobbles to get a view, there in the moonlight, perched on the chimney pot was the owl.
I think it was enjoying the echo, like a child clapping from inside a huge concrete pipe in a playground. To me, it was a direct communication from the owl asking that the barn restorations be swiftly started to ensure it had a new home.
Two nights later it was back, and standing in the farmyard in the pitch black dark I listened to three owls communicating across the farm from different vantage points. I daren't mention that it will be at least a year before the barns are completed.

8 comments:

Dick Madeley said...

Owls? Wow, we barely get sparrows where we live. The sound of a Tesco's plastic bag stuck to the chimney isn't quite as relaxing.

GeraniumCat said...

How atmospheric! Lovely to be able to get a good view of one.

Winchester whisperer said...

Lucky you! The wood pigeon which very annoyingly woke me up all summer by cooing down my bedroom chimney has left, perhaps for warmer climes?

Mopsa said...

Dick - getting far away from Tesco was one of the unexpected benefits of moving to Devon.

GCat - they are wonderful creatures

WW - those damn wood pigeons hover round the veg patch to eat my young brassicas - everything has to be covered with netting for months!

Hannah Velten said...

You lucky thing having those owls...beautiful, eerie, ethereal...

Rob Clack said...

Oh, how lucky you are. We used to have tawnies, but the old barns and sheds over the road were demolished to make way for houses, and the wols have more or less gone. We hear the occasional one and I'm determined to put up a wol nestbox, but just haven't got around to it. Will this give me the impetus I need?

rilly super said...

mopsa darling, sorry to hear you obviously didn't get a clear shot at the damn noisy thing. I find one of those laser pointer things that executive types use for presentations does the trick though, as the animal thinks it's a sniper sight and generally clears orff pretty sharpish! I'll ask my husband to snaffle one from the office for you if you like...

Mopsa said...

Hannah - yes, lucky lucky lucky

Rob - get those hammer and nails out now and they might nest in them before you can say hoot.

Rilly - you are a devil