Today I had a sad event which led to a pleasant encounter. A friend, Jeannot, died recently so I went to his funeral. In the very packed church I saw Wladimir, a man I've not seen for some time. He sat next to me and said that Hélène, his wife, hadn't come as she wasn't very well. After the service (Roman Catholic, in French not Latin and very long) it was (still) raining and I asked how he was getting home. As he said he'd walk - his licence has been taken away as he's too old to drive, he said - he's 94 - I offered to take him home and he suggested I go in to see Hélène. It was very pleasant and we got talking about birds and wildlife: they have a huge garden which has lots of bird and butterfly friendly plants. Hélène said one day last year she couldl hear a strange noise, a sort of chirping and although she looked everywhere, she thought, couldn't find the source. The noise continued for two days and then a visitor suggested it came from the firepalce. They have a fire insert with a glass front that they rarely use as they have efficient central heating, with a small tabel with a flowe vase in front of it. There inside was a nest containing three blue tit chicks. They could only guess it had been built higher up in the chimney and soemthing had caused it to dislodge and fall. As soon as the fire door was open the birds flew out. Hélène caugt one that landed on the table then another on the sideboard, and let them out into the garden where they flew of, but the third did not want to leave her hands and she had to virtually throw it in the air for it to leave. They hoped the parents were still around as the fledgelings might need lessons on where to find food, and also put food out for them.

They don't have a cat! They couldn't think how they had overlooked the fire insert! It was good to hear a happy ending to the story and also pleasant to have a lighter note on which to end the aternoon.

Jane