(From Mary Baker in Glynneath)

The coronavirus lockdown was long but it gave my husband Idris and myself, both the time and privilege to be able to sit and watch nature during the 3 months of beautiful weather that we had and which was a welcome distraction from the virus.

From our Bungalow window which faces the mountain, we watch every year to see the first swallows dipping and diving and then we know that Spring is here. It’s amazing to think that these beautiful birds have flown 6,000 miles from wintering in South Africa to the UK. they return to the same nesting site, lay their eggs and nurture their young and then in September, when it gets colder and there are no flies to feed on, they depart with the young for South Africa for the Winter, where they rest and feed on insects to make sure their in tip-top conditions to do the 6,000 mile journey back to the UK in the Spring, to nest and breed again.

Every year a pair of swallows return to a nest up our garden, under the eaves of our garden shed, sadly 2 years ago a magpie ate the young.  My husband Idris put bars across the nest last year to stop the magpie from getting in, leaving enough room for the swallows to get in and out and they had three young. This year because it was hot early in the season, Idris watered the Perspex roof of the shed to keep it cool as the nest is under the roof, apparently swallows mate for life and return to the same nest every year for 3 years! It worked and we had 6 young there this year.


We have spent many an enjoyable hour watching the swallows carrying food back and forth to feed their young, all 6 of them, there was hardly enough room in the nest for them all, we watched the first one feeling his wings and flying across to the shelf on the wall opposite their nest and then the other 5 following, and then a few days later all 6 young flying around the garden with their parents, so May and June kept us occupied.

 Now that September is here the butterflies have arrived in droves, we have 4 pots with what we call a butterfly plant in each of them and each one is covered in butterflies and bees, they are beautiful, so pretty.

 Both my husband and myself are in our 80’s and didn’t venture out during lockdown but nature was all around us and the weather was beautiful right through lock-down which gave us the privilege of being able to sit outside amongst nature, unlike many past years in March and April and even May when we’ve had floods in May and June and even snow in April.  It could have been far worse, this lockdown


Many thanks to Mary for a delightful glimpse of nature at its best in the garden she and husband Idris tend and enjoy during these difficult tmes for all of us.

If anyone has pictures and stories to tell of their gardens or walks in our valley please send them to us-we’d be delighted to receive them at: