That’s the silver birch in my new back garden, and that’s a string of fat balls hanging off the stump of a recently pruned branch.

You see, I moved recently, and it was incredibly stressful. I’m still in a mind-numbing dispute with my ex-landlord, and unpacking has become a nightmarish chore that can only be done in the liminal hours between child bedtime and adult bedtime.

I was tired of boxes and the birds were singing; I decided to feed them. I had bought a huge box of fat-balls, but had no holders to put them in. Using string from my veg boxes, I fashioned several chains of the fatty avian snacks and dangled them at intervals around the garden.

The simple motions of walking up and down the sloped lawn, searching for the most bird friendly spots to hang the food, were incredibly therapeutic. The fresh air, bird song and bounce of grass beneath my toes all combined to wick away some of the stress of the past fortnight. 

It’s no great revelation that time outdoors is good for you, but it’s incredibly good for tired, foggy minds, and the act of kindness towards another species is particularly soothing. It puts life into perspective; what are money troubles compared to filling the bellies of birds getting ready to build nests?

I glanced up as I hung the last chain and saw a goldfinch in the top of the tree, waiting musically for me to leave. Feeling a sense of achievement, I smiled and obliged. 

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