Podcast with magpies: another Aside

It’s just over four years since I started this blog. Back then I had no particular vision of what Tredynas Days was to be: I wanted it to be a place where I could express something of my experience, especially in a literary sense.

Among my earliest posts were some random notes from that excellent website, Public Domain Review. I also reviewed the trilogy of Javier Marías novels I was reading at the time: Your Face Tomorrow. (I’m currently reading Thus Bad Begins, bought when it was published last year, but I’ve only just got round to reading it. Hope to post about it soon.)

And I posted a piece of flash fiction. There are just six such pieces in this category if you check the list on my homepage. The last one was back in June 2014.

As my work for this academic year is slowing down and I have a bit more time, I thought I’d post another. Mrs TD says it’s a bit dark, but maybe I was feeling that way back when I wrote it (it’s from a notebook dating from 2011). Here it is.


Pica Hudsonia. By Louis Agassiz Fuertes (artist), Olive Thorne Miller (author, pseudonym for Harriet Mann) (The Second Book of Birds) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Seven magpies arrange themselves like baubles in the ash tree in my garden. They cackle with an air of conspiracy, as if they’ve planned something nefarious, and have shown up to watch it pan out.

The rain sweeps along the river valley.

It is only three o’clock but already it is getting dark – rather, the pale light dims.

I am listening to her podcast. Her digital voice lives on. When she was ill I looked after her as efficiently as I could, and she asked me every day not to forget her. You’ll listen to my voice, she said, won’t you? To the podcasts I’ve recorded?

I assured her. And I do listen, every day. Until the magpies arrive and watch me.

12 thoughts on “Podcast with magpies: another Aside

  1. Hi Simon, Happy Anniversary!

    I like it. Think of it as more “darkish” than dark. Love the allusive tone and the imagery. Puts me in mind of the wonderful Robert Aickman and his “strange stories” or maybe Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart.” The phrase “as efficiently as I could,” with its cold, metallic edge, really sticks with me. The plate of the bird is beautiful as well.

    Cheers, and many more blogging years to come. – Maureen

  2. Nice and not overly dark at all. Appropriate, too, because the first time I saw a magpie was in Cornwall. I don’t think we have them in California. At least growing up I only knew the cartoon characters Hekyll and Jekyll!

      • Yes, I was there over twenty years ago. I’d love to go back. I absolutely loved it there.

        Just googled crows in California, and it looks like they’re mostly in Central to Northern California. I’m in the South. There is also a mountain magpie, but I’m on the coast. Explains why I’ve never seen one.

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