Ray King column: Nature study
Just after six o’clock in the evening about one year ago, I was sitting in my usual pew on the balcony of the 22nd floor apartment that I share with my son. Suddenly two very small birds (smaller than a British sparrow) perched on the upper railing that surrounds the balcony. They each gave me a somewhat quizzical look before swooping into the thick foliage that climbs up a trellis which is attached to an adjacent wall.
After a few seconds they reappeared and flew off at speed. Several minutes later they returned with several long straws firmly held in their beaks. Once again they disappeared into the foliage. As darkness began to fall they continued to perform this ritual well into the night. This procedure continued to be repeated for the next several nights at almost the same time. A week or so after that we heard the “Cheep, cheep, cheep……” cries, loud and clear. The brood had arrived! We listened to those familiar sounds for at least another couple of weeks as mum and dad left the nest in the early morning and returned just after six in the evening. One day the sounds of the infants were no longer to be heard. The birds had flown, as it were.
A full year passed with no sign of our little birds until about three weeks ago, when two little birds once again appeared on the railing. We assumed that they were the same two birds from the year before. This time they didn’t have to build a nest – it was still there. They gave me that same quizzical look. A few weeks later after seeing them fly in and out we heard the familiar “Cheep, cheep…” sounds. Sadly, at least for us, they have departed once again. We’re hoping they’ll continue to come back in the years to come. Isn’t nature wonderful?!
Here we are, living in one of the world’s busiest cities, and yet these birds are completely oblivious to our way of life. I just saw in last week’s newspaper that the readers of Travel and Leisure magazine have again voted Bangkok as the world’s best city. This award is based upon several criteria, including tourist attractions, scenery, culture and traditions, food, cost of living, quality of service industries, to name but a few. Bangkok, like any large metropolis, comes with its own share of problems, particularly traffic congestion. The Thais, however have a phrase which suits every difficult situation: “Mai pen rai”, which loosely translated means “Never mind”.
The lady I mentioned previously who invited us to her mansion for dinner has now invited Gary to enter into a business venture with her. They are now partners in setting up and developing an educational consultancy right here in the heart of Bangkok. The name of the company is “King Academy – Thailand”.
Ray’s book ‘To the End of the Road’ is available from Pride of Northumbria,
Queen Street Amble, price £6.99