Storytime with Vicki: Swallows and Amazons

So, yesterday, we took my Gran out for the day. We went to look round the gardens of a National Trust place – a big old manor house owned by one of two national charities and open to the public (think Downtown Abbey, or even Hogwarts) – and then stopped for a picnic on the way back. So far, so normal.

Then my brother goes to the bathroom, and I’m sat there, staring out into the mist at the view, which is probably supposed to be of my city, but because of the mist I can’t quite tell. Everything is quiet, until a scream and the sound of clogs meeting gravel come from the direction of where my brother went.

“THERE’S A BAT IN THE TOILETS”, he yells – nearly hysterical. Mum tries to calm him down, and my two sisters head of in the direction of the toilets. After a few minutes deliberation, I join them.

The sight that greets me is not what I expect. There are what seems like hundreds, but in reality is probably only about 10 or 20, of birds swooping into the slowly setting sun, like one of the migrations you’d see on David Attenborough.  My little sister decides, that because it’s where my brother came from, the source of all this nature must be the men’s bathroom. And because none of us have ever seen a wild bat in real life, she wants us to go inside and have a look. The thing being, it’s the men’s bathroom. And we are three teenage girls. And there is a man in a parked car staring at us kind of funny.

The end result involves us all poking our heads in the doorway, as far as we can without standing in there or falling over. My older sister decides to take pictures, so by now the man in the car has gone a funny shade of embarrassed purple. I mean, it can’t be everyday that you see teenage girls looking into the men’s bathroom with a camera. (Just so you know, there was no-one in the either the men’s or women’s bathrooms).

It should be pictured below, but what we found was a swallows’ nest, with a line of cute little baby birds. I don’t think the photo does justice to how cute and fluffy they were. There was also something that looked like a nest in the Ladies room – but no birds.

– Vicki

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