We live in town but it’s a fairly quiet neighbourhood, we have our own garden even though we live in a flat and the sunny, warm weather is back so out I head.
It is quiet. The main noise of the day is children playing in various other gardens, calling to each other and occasionally getting upset with each other. One child counts the start of hide and seek: twenty eight, twenty nine, FORTY. I smile.
We don’t see many songbirds; pigeons, starlings and crows are the main visitors to our garden unfortunately. There are also magpies but they don’t seem to come into the gardens very often and seagulls (or more accurately, urbangulls) wheel frequently overhead. They’ve been quite quiet so far this year though. The buzzards are back over town this year, soaring in the blue sky until they’re tiny dots and seeming to effortlessly float high in the thermals. They mew, a faint sound that carries far and wide. You can hear them more than you get to see them. There is a near constant background of bird chirping, fairly distant as there aren’t many immediate trees. A crow passes overhead, a purposeful flight, chaw-chaw. A pigeon crash lands with a thud on the fence, the fence creaks slightly and he rustles his feathers. He wants the bird food and is slightly displeased with my intrusion into HIS garden. Pigeons aren’t the most graceful of birds, it’s almost as if they were never designed to fly! A giant manmade jumbo jet seems to have more success with landing and take off compared to these guys. He returns fairly often during the afternoon to glower at me. His landing and take off skills don’t improve.
Every so often someone will come out and yell, justly or otherwise, at a child, animal or partner, a harsh roar against the tranquility of what passes for a summer afternoon.
There is little traffic noise, occasionally something goes down the narrow road behind the houses, cautiously. Sometimes the traffic further into town catches the breeze right and can be heard; the whine of a motorbike, the beep of a horn, no sirens though.
The school beyond stands quiet. It’s the school holidays. Otherwise the shrill shouts of teenagers hanging around (they’re too old for ‘play’) the school field and grounds would echo regularly at break and lunch. The rest of the day would be punctuated by the school bell and the PE teacher’s whistle.
The odd insect zooms past, a bzzz in the ears and gone. A honeybee who burrows briefly into the grass then changes his mind. The big black spiders that look like someone has just drawn a big black stereotypical spider in felt tip march up and down the fences, silently but still making their presence known to the arachnophobic. Once or twice a butterfly flutters through.
Sometimes someone turns their music on, or just up. It funnels out of open windows and doors. The endless electric beat of dance music does annoy me, it’s more of a pulse echoing through the buildings than a distinct sound, but this afternoon it’s rock music. Not quite so bad. After all everyone’s entitled to enjoy the sunshine as they see fit.
As evening comes a nearby television set is turned on. Television from a distance always sounds like it’s being broadcast in a strange, foreign language. Occasionally you catch the odd word that stands clear and distinctive against the mumble; Lancashire, police, ginger. Funny enough, the adverts sound clearer than most of the programmes.
When darkness eventually falls and I have to go in, the daisies have closed up their heads for the night and look like galaxies, vast oceans of star filled galaxies, strewn across the black lawn.