Day 22 – In praise of the untidy

A gathering of bees has taken up residence in my neighbours bathroom roof. I’m not sure it’s a hive, although they go in with pollen and come out with nothing, so I guess they’re feeding young bees. They’ve been for the past three or four years, in a couple of weeks they’ll buzz off until next year. They can get in through the small holes on the edges of the roof, I’m not even sure if my neighbour knows they’re there – I can see them on my side, but she won’t be able to see them on hers.

My friend who featured on Day 18 has swifts turn up every May and nest in his roof – again, they get in through a small hole under the eaves. It doesn’t cause any problems for them, and they get to welcome swifts every year. They put up a swift nesting box one year but the swifts weren’t interested. There are fewer and fewer swifts coming back to nest in the city and one of the reasons could be because of the way we are sealing up the gaps and holes where they want to nest. I don’t know, I expect it’s other things too, but when we tidy up our gardens and verges and wastelands we inadvertently remove important habitats for all sorts of insects and animals. All that destructive ivy, those prickly pyracanthus bushes, the poppies growing from the edges of walls and cracks in the pavements – they all have a part to play. There should always be a bit of space for the untidy. ‘Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet’.

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