The Pheasants are First

IMG_0059I’d been checking the nest every day. Usually, Phyllis, our resident garden pheasant, was sitting on the nest, but occasionally, I’d get a clear look at her ten smooth, pale olive-coloured eggs.

Then, horror of horrors, when I checked yesterday, there were five unhatched eggs and a scattering of broken eggshells, no sign of Phyllis or any baby chicks. I was devastated. Had they hatched and a kestrel or a crow snatched them as they emerged while Phyllis foraged for food? Had the wily fox returned to the neighbourhood and been at the nest in the night?

All day, I moped about, much sadder than I would ever have believed possible at the loss of something I’d never had. I checked the nest several times more, hoping I was wrong, but, no, there they were, four unhatched eggs and….hey! wait a moment! Did I say four? I thought there had been five unhatched eggs. I checked the photo I had taken earlier. Yes! There had been five, now there were only four whole eggs.

With a sigh and a shudder, I turned away, thinking how cruel nature was, when I spotted poor old Phyllis sitting quietly in a hollow a little away from the nest.

“Yes, old girl. It’s cruel. And where was that strutting husband of yours? Did he not have the decency to hang around to help. To stand guard while you went for food and water. Shame on him!”

Phyllis didn’t have much to say, but just stared mournfully back at me.


I left her to grieve in private.

About an hour later, I thought I’d best check she was alright, that she didn’t need anything from the shops or anything. Joy of joys! Not only was dear Phyllis up and about and feeling better, but she had been sitting, not mournfully, as I had supposed, but broodingly…



So Phyllis made it first. She beat the doves to it — they are still incubating in their nest in the bush behind our basketball net. Needless to say, all basketball practice is suspended meantime. She beat me to the finishing line.

My next novel, Here At The Gate, is almost there, but I’m just doing those last minute things, like the back cover blurb, the last careful proofread, and it’ll be out there.

Might come in a close third. The doves have been incubating for a while, so I guess they are about ready to hatch. I might not even be third! The shell ducks on the pond have been nesting nearby for a while. There are house martins nesting in the guttering above my bedroom window and I’m pretty sure there is a blackbird nesting in the hedge. Never mind. Everything comes to fruition in its due time.

With patience, my book will be the best it can be with me as the author, so I’m not going to rush it. It’s not a competition anyway.

No, I’m not growing sour grapes. I’m just a sore loser.

But a happy one.


Enjoying my garden visitors.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle Stanley
    May 12, 2014 @ 16:53:24

    Hello Christine, I see by your very pleasant post that your home is a popular spot for expectant mothers and couples “branching ou”t to start families of their own. Give Phyllis my regards. She is beautiful, so is her nest. I’m been keeping up with your posts about the maternity home you now have.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. grace jolliffe
    May 13, 2014 @ 14:21:50

    Glad it all worked out for Phylis. Good luck with the book too! Writing and gardening go so well together don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person


  3. teagankearney
    May 13, 2014 @ 18:13:02

    I agree with Grace, and am so relieved for Phyllis – and for you – that the wee eggs are (mostly) in a safe place – I guess mother’s know best!
    I love the title you chose – Here At The Gate – it hints at both a past and a future, and the book will be ready in its own good time – just like Phyllis’s hatchlings!

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Yolanda Isabel Regueira Marin
    May 14, 2014 @ 07:15:47

    Love the post, made me smile Christine. Don’t rush the finished product will be all the better for it. xx

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Michelle Stanley
    May 15, 2014 @ 13:24:50

    Hello Christine, I have nominated you for the Quintet of Radiance Award. Here is the link to my post regarding this. Michelle

    Liked by 1 person


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