Ah, another satisfying little project…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s Raymond Chandler quotation is from his 1949 novel The Little Sister:
‘Ha,’ I said. ‘All I know about Bay City is that every time I go there I have to buy a new head. You want me to finish your story for you?’
‘Wha-a-at?’ Her eyes opened so wide that her glasses made them look like something you see in the deep-sea fish tanks.
‘He’s moved,’ I said ‘And you don’t know where he’s moved to. And you’re afraid he’s living a life of sin in a penthouse on the top of the Regency Tower with something in a long mink coat and an interesting perfume.’
‘Well, for goodness’ sakes!’
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So you see, last summer, my little pond in the garden developed a serious problem; the water level dropped about eight inches and no amount of squirting more in from next door’s hose pipe would bring it back up; the thick black liner had somehow sprung a leak – damn!…
Actually it wasn’t too much trouble to fix – I bought a floppy plastic/rubber patch and some ‘special glue’ to repair it. The thing was, that when fully draining the pond to expose the rip I removed some rough Yorkstone ‘steps’ that I had originally installed, they descended from the edge of the pond into the water so that the birds and other wildlife could hop or amble down and have a drink, or to have a good splash around – they do like doing that. I think the weight and sharpness of these stones might have had something to do with the little rip in the liner. Hm…
By now dear reader, you are probably wondering where all this very dull ‘gardening talk’ is going. Well, after the pond was fixed and filled up again I noticed several rather annoyed-looking birds hanging around its edge; they were pacing around staring at the water and muttering bird expletives under their breaths – they were thirsty, or in need of a bath, and couldn’t reach the water from where they were standing now that the ‘steps’ were gone. They obviously needed some new way down…
The reason I am telling you all this is that I recently came across a photo with the original drawing and some items for the construction of my solution to our little feathered friends’ problem.

A simple idea. A floating ‘pontoon’ made from a bit of 6″ x 1″ treated timber, loosely hinged, with some screw-eyes, at the top to a weighty slab of stone. The design needed a bit of tweaking to get the buoyancy right, but the birds (blackbirds, sparrows, pigeons, etc.) eventually seemed quite happy with it – mind you there were a bit puzzled by it at first.
On the first day I watched them flutter down for a drink; they stood there by the pond for several minutes ‘thinking’… Then they started walking around the pond, both clockwise and anticlockwise, staring at the water, which was just a little bit too far for them. They totally ignored my walkway, even stepping on and off it as they walked around, but none of them considered walking down the slope. I was tempted to shout from my vantage point at the back window, ‘Go on!… Go on!… Walk down the slope – you dim-witted little buggers!…’
Eventually a big fat wood-pigeon flopped down and joined the throng, looked around, and within seconds he/she waddled down my plank and had a drink. The other birds watched this event, and stood open-beaked in amazement for a minute or two. Over the next few days they passed the word around amongst their friends and the device was in daily use from then on…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in brain, creation, design, humour, information, learning, observations, reading, thinking, words, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Ah, another satisfying little project…

  1. Jheron Bash says:

    Splendid! Are these birds on facebook?

  2. Oh thats ingenious! Well done. Birds are very intelligent when all’s said and done. (P.S Your intro made me think immediately of the Bay City Rollers band way back in the day. They were Scottish, I just found out…fancy that!). But anyway, I’m glad your little birds are happy now 😀

    • Dave Whatt says:

      I always wondered if the person who named ‘The Bay City Rollers’ had read ‘The Little Sister’.
      Oh, not that ingenious, just a plank really, but thank you Scribbler.

  3. Great post and I loved your sketched plan of the pond! I like your opening photo, too. Great visual imagery.

  4. Dana Doran says:

    It looks like a trap to me…but then again, I might be a bird!

  5. ktz2 says:

    haha haha.. the mental image of the birds muttering under their breath. . maybe throwing frowny glances your way. . haha hahaha. .

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