Caught by the River

Supporters’ Artefact #1

22nd August 2021

The first of our quarterly print artefacts for Middler and Lunker-tier subscribers has been winging its way through the post this week, and we can now, with pleasure, reveal it in its full glory…

Though the last of the swifts may have departed for the year, we hope that this beautiful print by (longtime hero, and friend of the site) Edwyn Collins will keep them about in spirit. Edwyn’s recollection reads:

‘In 1997, I had not long moved into a house in Kilburn with a flat roof and big sky. Kilburn High Road was just round the corner but our street was really quiet, with a cul-de-sac bit at the end, so less traffic. In early summer, June, I was on the roof and noticed the swifts in the evening, loads of them, feeding in the air before going to roost. After that I spent most evenings and some early mornings out there on the roof just watching them fly at top speed. They are gymnasts, the turns they make at speed are like dance routines, but effortless. I spent twenty years in that house before moving to the Scottish Highlands. I never missed a year with the swifts, except for the year I was in hospital. I’d keep nipping out to see if they had come back, from May onwards. It wasn’t exactly the same every year. And it was always sad to say goodbye to the swifts, goodbye to summer. Here in the north I make a special trip about 45 minutes south to catch the swifts. We get martins, house and sand, and swallows. The swifts are more elusive. But I think some are coming further north each year. Come on, swifts!’

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