The Swallow

The sun had scarcely risen when Dick Scabbit drew back the curtains.

‘Good morning world!’ he said.

The sky was pale-pink over the rooftops, there was dew on the grass and the air was still. Scabbit slid up the window and took a deep breath of the morning freshness.

And there in the cool morning air – was a swallow. The first swallow of the summer! Scabbit watched entranced as it looped and fluttered, dipped, slicing through the air and flittered its wings. Scabbit, who loved all forms of wildlife, took this as a sign, an omen. This was a sign of new beginnings. A summer full of promise lay ahead. A summer of sunlight and laughter. A summer of dreams and new beginnings. Of barbecue smoke and raised glasses and happy customers. He could see it all in his mind’s eye.

The swallow had flown all the way from Africa to tell him this. And now, having attracted his attention, it was tired. It perched on a length of guttering on the house opposite, its wings drooping, its head on one side.