For the past nine days we've spent a great deal of time, one way or another, battling with the owl-house.
The decrepit outbuilding we thought would be most suitable used to be a bread-oven, and is still full of bundled twigs and ancient logs. Now it's an owl roost (potentially.)
We found a piece of timber (there's a lot of old wood lying around here)
The hanging festoons of ivy were removed, and the timber screwed to the roof-beams - no easy job when teetering at the top of a ladder twelve feet from the ground.
The labourer lugged the box across the garden.Minus the lid, it weighed about 11kg. Then, unfortunately, there was a technical hitch, so back it went to the workshop for modifications.
Until, at last, the final version was complete (we fervently hoped.)
Back across the garden struggled the labourer.
Between the photo on the left and the one on the right, you will just have to imagine two old-timers, each on a ladder, manhandling a heavy, awkward box into position: no mean feat, and done with a minimum of altercation. On goes the lid, and the final image is from the window, a low-flying owl's-eye view.
As to the owls themselves, there have been developments. We decided to leave a full week before we disturbed them again to get an updated photo, but when we lifted the cover off the fireplace there was nobody home!
That night around midnight I saw at least three owls flying around our roof by the light of my torch, and last night there were two - I suspect the youngsters - perched on top of the concrete post which carries the electric cables serving us and our neighbours. After a moment they flew off back to the chimney. It seems that's where they are roosting during the day; with the aid of a mirror I can see the chimney top from the fireplace and I think I can see a bird's tail feathers up there.
Now we just have to hope they find their palatial new home. After all the efforts we've made the blighters had better use it!