For many years at least two pairs of swallows each raised one, two and sometimes three broods each year in my neighbour and friend's garage. Sadly he passed away in April three years ago - apart from a cursory visit the swallows did not return to the garage. It was the same story in 2009 and 2010. We live in a very rural area and it was noticeable that there was no reduction in the number of swallows flying around the area culminating in families congregating on overhead cables at the end of the season. In late March and early April this year it was a completely different scenario with quite a number flying in and out of the garage in what can only be described as 'excited anticipation' and happily 'chattering away' to each other - the attitude was completely different to that of the previous three years. Unfortunately due to my wife's illness I was not able to monitor their activities but at the end of July I was able to get a quick photo literally minutes before the brood of four fledged. To the right of this nest there is a second but at the time of the photo there was no sign of any activity - nineteen days later another brood of four fledged. A story tinged with sadness and happiness which raises a number of questions to which I have no answers.