A robin has been visiting our home for the past month. Every day she gets bolder, braver and cheekier. I’ve even managed to get her to eat out of my hand by dangling old bits of spaghetti to make them look like worms. Having posted a few pictures of the robin eating from our table, balancing on my computer screen and looking intently at the new illustrations for my children’s book, many people have commented that maybe, just maybe it’s the spirit of my precious mum coming to keep an eye on me. I love the concept as this little robin is very much like her; brave, fearless, exploring rooms that she probably shouldn’t be in and tweeting at full pelt if she isn’t being let in (she sits on the garden chair and tweets at full volume until we open the back door. She then flies in.)

My mum used to shout through the letterbox whenever she dropped in. There was a door knocker and bell, but no – far too obvious and simple. Shouting “Ooooooh-oooooooh SONIA-darling” was much more fun and personal. She’d often make the trip up from the South Coast with something she’d thought of that morning; a present of a warm vest, two matching brass-etched vases or a strawberry and cream cake for a friend’s birthday. Mum’s way of living was the very epitome of being “present” as she never lived in the past or worried about the future. She thought of something, acted on it and did whatever she thought was appropriate in the moment. Quite often of course, her moments didn’t quite match other people’s, but it never bothered her. She wanted to drop off a strawberry cream cake, so she did. On this occasion when I wasn’t at home, she left the aforementioned cake at the dry cleaners on the corner and had left a note about it with a neighbour whom I’d never met before. All I had was a scrawled scrap of paper with a number on it. I took it to mean that I had to visit this house (it was never very clear what Mum really wanted me to do, so it was an educated guess), so off I trotted down to the neighbour’s house, hoping I’d got it right. The door was opened on the chain by a nervous-looking man who slipped a note through the narrow gap who then disappeared back inside with a loud click. I tried shouting a “thank you”, but it fell on deaf ears as I heard another loud clunk inside the house while he tried barricading himself back in. “Tell my daughter to go to the dry cleaner’s” was all it said. “PWfffff” thought I, whistling exasperated breath out off the side of my mouth. What is it this time? Of course it was now 7pm and the dry cleaner’s was shut. The following morning I dropped in and picked up the cake which was now warm, curdling slightly and a bit droopy. I have no memory of who it was meant for, but sadly it never got eaten. It ended up in the garden as bird food which, looking back, probably wasn’t very good for them as it was full of double cream and sugary jam.

Three of my lovely friends – Jan, Sharon and Alison have all suggested that this cheeky little free spirit might be Mum coming to visit as a lot of people believe that robins are the worldly embodiment of people who’ve passed away and want to keep an eye on us. As all three of them are incredibly musical … and we’re all locked in without the chance of seeing each other … all together now … “When the red red robin comes bob bob bobbing along – along. There’ll be no more sobbing when he starts singing his own sweet song. Wake up, wake up you sleepy head. Get up, get up, get out of bed. Cheer up, cheer up the sun is red. Live, love, laugh and be happy.” It’s coming up for two years since my beloved Mum passed away and I hear her voice every day. And now, maybe, just maybe, she’s checking in to say hello.

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