I have seen the first swallows swooping through the skies...always a moment of joy..it seems to be summer!
Unfortunately there is a downside to their arrival. All church doors are now guarded!
In one small inland church the door was always left open. The church warden did not mind the arrival of the yearly visit. Plastic sheets were placed over the altar and every service was attended by the birds swooping up and down the church!
In one church I arrived to marry a local couple to find the pews, the tiled sanctuary and the altar covered in white droppings. A troop of ladies complete with mops arrived to do a thorough clean. One of them cheerfully mopping said
"If you tell my husband I can mop I might have to kill you!"
The bride arrived to a clean church!
Now the doors are firmly closed. Notices are placed outside asking visitors to keep the doors shut.
One church porch becomes a nursery for baby swallows..we have all learned to dodge the mess and no one would dream of trying to move them on.
Outside, high in the sky their swoops and dives give intense joy to me and everyone else...it is the yearly signal that joy of joys.....summer is here.
When I lived in Essex the other harbinger of summer was the arrival of the cuckoo. One of my friends threatened to get a catapult to silence their repeated cry!
I've never heard a cuckoo here in Cornwall but the swallows are proclaiming the good news.....alleluia.