When I was growing up the sound of a cuckoo was probably the iconic birdsong. Helped along by novelty clocks in late 70s/early 80s sitcoms and other TV things, a cuckoo call was the most easily recognisable bird call. I was desperate to hear one.
The nearest I got was visiting my Granny and hearing Wood Pigeons. I must have driven her demented by asking if it was a cuckoo every time I heard one. This, by the way, was a house with back garden overlooking tennis courts where a young Virginia Wade practised, long before winning the Women’s title at Wimbledon. Because local colour wins, or something like that.
Anyhow, it wasn’t until my 30s that I heard a cuckoo ‘in the flesh’, when we moved to this house. It was like suddenly discovering that, not only had we landed on the moon (collectively, as a species) in the 60s, but that I had, inexplicably, hitherto unbeknownst to me, been there, done that and got, not only the t-shirt but the NASA logo-ed space suit to prove it.
When we moved here our eldest was 7 years old and the youngest 15 months, so they have grown up with the sound of cuckoos in a way I could only imagine when I was their age.
This does not make me jealous, though. With the pressures on land in the South East of England it just makes me more determined than ever that this is something that should be preserved for their adult lives and that of their children.
So, when you think of NIMBYs think again, maybe we’re all simply trying to preserve something we believe to be precious. We’ve experienced it, appreciated it, and think it worth preserving for future generations.