Do you ever have the feeling that you are being watched? This happens quite often in our bungalow when sitting in the lounge while viewing television, or quietly reading. It can be any time, but it’s always a pleasant surprise when checking the window, to see this cheeky blackbird sitting on the fence or shed. I think he was quite bewildered when I produced my camera, but posed happily, anyway.

Whenever I see him, I usually start humming the nursery rhyme, ‘Sing A Song A Sixpence’. It’s one of the first I remember learning by heart before going to school and can recall wondering what a blackbird looked like. Thinking about the lyrics, they are charming but strange. Two lines that stand out more in my mind are, ‘Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing.’

However, the words may tell of what could have happened at Royal banquets. Imagine a cooked pastry lid covering the birds in an enormous dish, that when removed, the songbirds fluttered into the air. It would have looked spectacular centuries ago.

There are lots of fascinating stories associated with the rhyme, though.

Were the king and queen referred to, Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon? Blackbirds might signify the churchmen seeking esteem in Henry’s new Church of England, too.

Another idea is about the notorious pirate Blackbeard that sailed the seas around the Caribbean in the late 17th century. He supposedly paid his shipmates a generous wage of sixpence per day. ‘Sing a song a sixpence, a pocketful of rye;’ The latter part signifying a pouch of whisky.

Well, our dear little blackbird certainly sent me on a question trail and I ended up with different answers. One thing is certain though, there’s something quite endearing about this perky little chap, and I wonder if he’s the same one who sings merrily outside our bedroom at daybreak.

Until next time.
Sue. X