Dear Reader: Beaten by Big Garden Bird Watch!

NADV110729 Gered Mankowitz @ Red House. Gered Mankowitz and Graham Chalmers. (110729AM2)

NADV110729 Gered Mankowitz @ Red House. Gered Mankowitz and Graham Chalmers. (110729AM2)

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By Graham Chalmers

Anyone who doubts our modern lives have been thoroughly seduced by the smell of cafe culture should have been at Bean & Bud on Saturday night.

It’s not so much that this fabulous little coffee house is one of 10 such independents now located in Harrogate town centre.

Or that the party to celebrate it’s fifth birthday on Commercial Street was absolutely packed out.

It was the atmosphere.

Gathered together cheek by jowl was a carnival of characters who’d probably never previously been in one place at the same time.

Artists, baristas (obviously), writers, gallery owners, customers (obviously), shops owners, PR executives, charity volunteers, a DJ, burlesque performer and a large Chinese dragon.

It felt exactly the same as being at an art gallery launch.

Everything wasn’t rosy in our rumble tumble little garden on Sunday morning.

We were 40 minutes into the RSPB’s hour-long Big Garden Bird Watch and we hadn’t seen a thing out of our back window. Not a dicky bird.

There were plenty of birds around but none of them were landing in our garden.

My much-trumpeted ‘stale bread and raisons’ strategy had achieved nothing.

At one point I got excited when a fuzzy blur of milky white flew past our window but it turned out to be a feather in the wind.

Just as I was beginning to think the entire ornithological world had colluded to create a bird exclusion zone round our house, I spotted the whirr of little wings.

A long-tailed tit hopped on a branch in front of my eyes, then another, then a lovely little blue tit.

Altogether in the final five minutes of this annual bird-watching nightmare 11 birds stopped off at our address.

Then, as quickly as they’d come, they were off.