Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Silver Robin Restaurant

All is not well at the Silver Robin. The chefs have obviously not been doing their job properly, and if things don't change soon, the clientele will probably start to drop away.

My son built the restaurant some years ago, to a design I dreamed up.
Unlike most edifices, it was not created to be beautiful, or striking, or to make some kind of statement.
It was put together purely with the safety of its diners in mind.

I work on one side of the window, and the bird table is on the other, and every now and again there would be a visual explosion like a firework as birds took off in all directions, a sharp crack as one  flew directly into the glass, and a puff of feathers that, falling silently through the air, told their own sorry tale.
It didn't take me long to realise that a sparrow-hawk was coming up the drive like a heat-seeking missile. At about shoulder height, and camouflaged by all the shrubs on the bank, it was effortlessly plucking some hapless songbird from the board mid-lunch.
Needless to say, I felt guilty every time. I felt as if the peanuts I'd provided had lured each tiny creature to its death.

The Silver Robin's larders are bare

The design is very simple, and, now that the perspex has clouded with age, no longer very attractive, but it surely works. To take a bird, the sparrow hawk would have to swoop round to the open front end, which faces onto the window.
I think the hawks have given up, I haven't seen one in the garden for ages.

The happy bonus of the design is that in the late spring, the young rooks no longer come to hoover up all the food I have put out for the little birds, as they find negotiating the entrance awkward and hardly worth it. They are much more inclined to do their parents' bidding, and go to the orchard for lessons in digging up leather jackets and other goodies with their long, hard beaks - their natural diet in other words.

No 2 son, who built the wondrous edifice, named it the Silver Robin because at the time a hotel was being constructed in Sligo called the Silver Swan - the name of the original hotel on the site, which paid homage to the swan-filled Garavogue River at its feet.

The Glasshouse Hotel, as it came to be called

I don't think our design was quite so a la mode as theirs, but nevertheless it has proved immensely popular, and there may well be times when, pro rata, it is fuller than its edgy Sligo counterpart, but recently I have been unable to obtain the ingredients I use to make the restaurant's staple favourite, and there have been a number of complaints from clients.

You can read the disapproval a mile away

Anxious not to leave the table bare, I have bought fat balls instead, but my diners are not very impressed. They eat them, but there has been a lot of standing beside the inadequate fat-ball and staring eloquently in through the window until I have taken note. In an effort to please, I have hung a stale loaf of bread (given me for the hens) in the restaurant's al fresco extension. This is in the little beech tree on the nearby bank, close to the dead palm tree trunk which conveniently holds the nut feeders.
It is, as you can tell, a veritable gourmet's paradise.

But fortunately, stocks are in, the chef has been busy and any minute now the menu will be back up to scratch. Hopefully everyone will be happy again
What does a grinning bird look like?
Maybe I'll find out.

The Silver Robin's al fresco extension

Cait - whose blog I like - has posted a recipe for bird cake, which sounds very good.
My small, singing friends don't get quite such 5 Star treatment.
I simply melt white fat or lard, pour it into a basin over a mixture of wild bird seed, oat flakes and raisins (if I have any to spare), wait for it to solidify and then paste it into empty coconut shells which the In-Charge has kindly drilled so they can be hung up.
As I am prone to say - easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
And, rather like Cait's infinitely superior mixture, it vanishes like the proverbial snow.

I'll add a picture of the revamped, re-stocked, up-graded restaurant tomorrow.
Maybe there'll even be a few happy customers.


  1. I'm new to your blog, but I've fast taken a liking to your writing style. Thank you for an enjoyable read!

    1. Well how very nice to see you here, Paul. Thank you for your complimentary remark! I hope you will keep visiting! All the best

  2. Ah yes! Always make sure your staples are there every day - without fail! The Coffee Boys ( would approve!

    1. Hello A! Nice to see you again. Hope all is well with you. Yes, you are right - I haven't been a model restaurant owner, but I'm back on track now! And the birds have been loving it. The weather here today - screaming gales and sideways sleet, or hail, or something nasty - has made it difficult to take the promised photo, but the birds have been busy stocking up, I'm glad to say.

  3. Hello:
    Well, The Silver Robin restaurant does seem to be paying particularly close attention to its clients and so, surely, its future success is guaranteed. The design is so stylish that surely ever self-respecting bird celebrity in town must wish to be there. Yes, a tweak of the menu, perhaps a fusion approach will bring a new party crowd in and we are certain that the background music must be delightful, especially the dawn chorus!

    1. Your comment made me laugh, ED (which stands, of course, for Elegant Duo!) Yes, I do believe all the celebrities are here, and the fusion approach has certainly been a winner today! As mentioned above, the weather here is SO FRIGHTFUL today, I can only be glad I have suppied their needs, poor little things.
      The dawn chorus is largely comprised of rooks. (Noisy but wonderful.) I wonder how they would be categorised on the orchestra scale? Perhaps they are bassoons!

  4. WOW- so The Silver Swan is gone (yes, it's years since I've visited Sligo) but long live The Silver Robin.
    You certainly seem to be attracting a varied clientele.
    I find my visitors are partial to Tesco's suet and berry cake as I'm too lazy to make my own.

  5. I treied commenting on this alst week, but got shut out, so here goes again since my presence seems acceptable today. I much prefer the Silver Robin to the Silver Swan. A clever design where you and the birds get the enjoyment, and they are safe. I was trying to buy a bird feeder earlier. It was surprisingly difficult and I came home empty handed. well not completely, I had catfood and self-raising flour...


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