No Swallows at Tyntesfield

Tyntesfield House

Nor anywhere near me so far but some are back: both Bristol and Clevedon message boards have reported them. Some birds have to run the gamut of Malta, of course, but Spain seems generous enough to offer others safe passage.

The Collins Bird Guide and the IOC place hirundines after larks but similarities in the order stop there, largely because the IOC has promoted crows and tits way up before the larks. (Rising before the lark? Hm, is that possible?) And warblers now come directly after swallows and martins. I’m beginning to piece all this together!

Being such a grim swallow-free day, it made sense to shelter in the National Trust house. It was all private last time I was in the Bristol area but now the Trust have taken on its renovation and, boy, does it need it. These rambling old piles, were it not for their historic interest, would be way less effort to pull down. And I think we do need some reminder of just how greedy their creators, the old captains of industry were.

The Trust are big on the philanthropy of these moguls but a house, and its extensive grounds, like Tyntesfield show that the good ole boys took more than their lion’s share before doling out the charitable scraps. (Rather ashamed that this lot bear the Gibbs surname.) For instance, tucked away almost as an afterthought, is a Rembrandt and a Salvator Rosa – probably both minor works but, hey, I wouldn’t pass on them.

The sun’s out now. Shall I go swallow-hunting? Nah, they’ll turn up some time.

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