Earlier this year, before the trees went yellow and brown, a perch on one of the bird feeders went missing. It's a deep screw. How can a tit do that? We have squirrels, on another older feeder. Bright, dextrous and ingenious, but undo deep screw? I think not.
The feeders hang from a wood construction. My project at the start of lockdown. Along with a bug hotel. Waste wood from Fitzpatrick crates. Local supplier of ash logs in large containers, held together with nails and plastic film. Easily deconstructed. Stood on much more stable pallets, now a three-storey insect residence. Not that there is a lot of evidence of occupation.
Lots of thin long wood struts. No rulers, protractors, set squares. Just a good eye and a trusty electric screwdriver. Not perfect. Still standing. Strong enough to carry birds and hearts. Heavy stones help, leaning over basal cross struts.
Spring 2020. Cracking the flags. Pandemic. "It will be all over by Christmas." Delta variant from India. 19th century cholera came from there as well - by sea and railway. Both can be vaccinated today; autumn 2021. What are the prospects of unrestricted festivities? Same as WW1 settling in 1914.
So, all well, except one perch short. Until I spied one of those short brown pencils, give-aways the world over to write down the score. Why? A remnant of many Scarborough crazy golf and putting rounds. North Bay and South Cliff. Prelude to The Highlander and The North Riding. Soft wood, sharp end well pliable to take a deep screw.
And, during a spot of weeding and mulching, again supplied by Fitzpatrick and his lovely daughter, the original steel perch appeared. Restored. Bin for the pencil - aw. Satisfaction. Happy birds.
So what is a pencil for? Writing, drawing, picking teeth, memory stick, pandemic reminder.