Friday, July 29, 2011

Ce qui m'inspire en ce moment... birds!

Every morning before I get harshly woken up by the horrendously intrusive song of my alarm, I get gently stirred awake by the chirps and calls of the morning chorus. It's nature's very own amazingly eclectic alarm clock, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Even though I live in London, my flat is apparently surrounded by vast flocks of birds - each of them vying to out-sing the others (whilst managing, for the most part, to remain illusively hidden from sight for the rest of the day). From the to pretty singsong of the robin to the clatter of the magpie's raspy call to the annoyingly insistent coo-ing of a lazy wood pigeon, I hear them all... and then drift back into the land of dreams, happy that the birds are up and about whilst I can snooze my way into the morning...

I love this quote by Huraki Murakami, about this experience of waking up to birdsong. Murakami is one of my favourite writers - he has a style all of his own that is strangely poetic and bizarre. His books are built around surreal images and moments which blur the boundary between real and make-believe. I always wonder if he would have the same unique quality if you were to read his books in the original Japanese or if it comes in part from the translation process. Either way, I really recommend his writing:
The wind-up bird chronicle, which is where this quote is taken from, was the first of his books that I read a couple of years ago and I've been slowly making my way through everything he's ever written ever since- slowly, because his books are so good that I want to savour them! I really love learning more about all the birds that fly around above my head and nest in the trees and in roofs and pass through this country on their long incredible migratory paths that take them back and forth around the world every year. My lovely man has a seemingly infinite well of bird-knowledge tucked away between his ears and I recently got him a free garden bird CD from the RSPB as a treat (If you are in the UK, you can get one here ). I put the songs on random and he tells me what they are - it's a great way to learn more about our feathery friends. I've learnt a few different songs over the years: I can definitely pick chiff-chaffs, great tits, buzzards, blue-tits, magpies and jackdaws (to name a few) out from the crowd.

Birds inspire me in lots of other ways too. We've got a lovely collection of bird feathers that we've found out and about on our rambles in the countryside. They decorate an otherwise empty one corner of the flat, and include quite a few rather impressive stripy red-kite tail feathers.
(Am I the only person who looks at a feather and finds it crazy to think that birds are made up of hundreds of them and as a result they can fly? Nature's intricate laws and designs are really quite baffling!)

I recently purchased this lovely ceramic blue-tit pendant. I think it's actually meant to be hung up on the wall, but I love it so much that I tied a ribbon through it and wear it myself!
(I got it at a market stall and I don't think that you can buy them anywhere online. The lady that makes has a little company called Hearts and Doodles which you can google and find out her email address if you are interested tho...)

I found this old photo of the wallpaper in an old flat which I used to live in in France. The entire walls of my room were covered in this crazy jungle parrot print. It was a bit strange at first to have all these parrots staring at me when I woke up in the morning, but I grew strangely attached to them! I would love to have met the crazy people that chose this wallpaper in the first place! Maybe they were jungle explorers who couldn't bear the thought of plain white walls after years of falling asleep amidst gigantic trees that were home to all sorts of creatures...

And last but not least... Origami birds. I went through a flurry of making these when I got a set of origami paper a while ago. I made a whole rainbow of them to decorate the window in my flat as well as lots of random ones to tuck in on sticks amongst my houseplants. I also folded up lots and lots as presents, and they got turned into all kinds of cool wind-chime time things (well not wind-chimes because, being paper, they didn't chime, but I think you know what I mean!)

Recently, I was making one out of the joke that came in a cracker at a party and people started asking me how to make them. And then this lady inspired me to try out a rather fantastic idea. Ever since, I have been folding up tiny bits of colourful paper for a secret project that I'm planning. Here are some of them tucked away into a tiny origami box....
Perhaps one day I will put up some instructions for how to make these birds yourself...

Well I can hear the swifts screeching and wheeling overhead which must mean that evening is here and it's time to get something for dinner... I will leave you with this lovely illustration of a nuthatch. The nuthatch is perhaps my favourite bird because I love the way it creeps up and down trees and bird holders and then flutters off surrepticiously to hide (they are rather shy which means its a real treat to spot them). They have the most wonderful markings around their eyes which makes it look like they have the most elegantly applied swoop of eyeliner
(This illustration is from the RSPB website. All other photos are by me)

What's your favourite bird?

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