The Owly Service

Or a parliament of owls

You know when you go to garden centres and various other worthy outlets you sometimes see those stone owls?  I have looked at them for many years and thought how much I wanted one, yet never quite got around to buying one.  Then some weeks ago I was at Calke Abbey and they had some in the sale, well it seemed like fate, this was the day to buy.  After a very brief look I knew the owl for me, picked him quickly in that 'what if someone else picks him up before me' manner, and wandered around clutching him in a possessive manner until the choosing was done and I went to pay.  It was sort of like being the Log Lady, but with an owl instead.

I love my owl.

Then I went to Haddonstone Show Gardens where I also became enamoured of an owl.  No idea why this is happening, I have not had a compulsion to buy owls particularly before.

Then I had to find somewhere for them to live.  I thought they ought to live together really so they could form a parliament.  It did not take long for me to realise where they had to be.
They have been placed on the pile of rocks that occupies the top right hand corner of the garden.  These rocks are weathering in well now and getting more overgrown, something I am encouraging as they are an ugly reminder of the now removed stream that was briefly part of the garden.

The moment I positioned them my mind went straight to the Alan Garner book, The Owl Service and in the same moment the 1970s television series of the same name.  I have happy memories, but slightly scared memories of both.  Yet I look at my owls, who (hoo) I now refer to as the Owl Service and they make me smile.  I cannot help but wonder if there is a third owl out there just waiting to join them.


  1. I too have a "thing" about owls, I don't know why! We seem to have quite a collection of them now, most in the house, but I have carved a couple for the garden. I quite understand why you had to pick yours up before someone else bought it, that would have been too awful if that had happened!
    We do have the real thing in the garden during the winter, most nights we hear the Tawny Owl hooting in the garden as we are drifting off to sleep, a lovely sound.

  2. If you one day travel to the town of Newport in Pembrokeshire - there you will find a little gallery run by the Newport Artists Collective, and in this gallery you will find all manner of sculpted owls - carved from blocks of light breeze block - yes- and believe it or not they are fine birds that weather beautifully - no yogurt needed x


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