Sitting in the dining room with the patio door open, researching my next chapter, I am disturbed by a commotion outside: the frantic chink-chink-chink! alarm-call of a blackbird. I glance up to see a black blur shoot past the window with a blue-grey blur in hot pursuit.
The twin blurs disappear briefly round the back of the blossoming cherry tree, then crash into the undergrowth in the corner of the garden. Chink-chink-chink! Chink-chink-chink!
I rush over to the door and watch as rhododendron, bramble and black bamboo are knocked violently back and forth. Chink-chink-chink! Chink-chink-chink!
After twenty seconds or so, a male sparrowhawk emerges, empty taloned, shooting off low, a murderous gleam in his sulphurous eye.