Getting out of the car, I stop to look up.
Swifts! Swooping and screaming round the high buildings of the old hospital.

It’s incredible to think how far these birds have come, thousands and thousand of miles, up from Central and Southern Africa to spend just a few months of the summer here before flying back. I read about them the other day. Apparently they only land to breed, making nests from any material they can snatch from the air, gluing them together with saliva high up in the eaves of old buildings, where they can drop straight back into flight from the entrance. Their whole lives are lived on the wing, eating, drinking, mating. When they need to sleep, they rise ten thousand feet or more, and close their eyes, riding the isobars so expertly that when they open their eyes again, they’re pretty much in the same spot.

I watch them for a while, then lock the car and head inside.

With creatures like these flying above us – well, it feels wonderful! A benediction!

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