The alarm on her mobile made its usual high pitched wail, and Naomie reached out to switch it off. It was a real cheap phone that she had bought in her local bargain basement store; none of those expensive iPhone sixes for her, that was just for her teenage children. She pulled back the covers on her bed, and stretched. Her little dog Buster, stretched next to her and yawned.

‘What are you doing here, aye? Dad must have left the door open, you naughty thing!’

Buster looked up at her pleadingly, knowing that he was not allowed in the bedroom, let alone on the bed. His tail was down, and he whined quietly.

‘Well just this once, I suppose.’ She made her way to the bathroom, and looked at herself in the mirror. ‘Wow, my hair is a mess, and I definitely need to lose a few pounds.’ she thought to herself.

As she stepped into the hallway, she sensed the quietness around her. Her two teenage children had not risen yet, and would stay there if she didn’t knock their doors. Her son in particular liked to sleep at all hours of the day; he was a regular night owl! He was in a band, so when he wasn’t playing in the local pubs, then he was playing his guitar from the spare room.

‘Come on, Molls! Haven’t you got a dance rehearsal this morning?’ she knocked on her daughter’s bedroom door, and then put the kettle on for some tea.

Then she spotted them; lined up on the fence just outside her patio area. Jim must have opened the blinds, as the sunlight scattered itself across her rug, warming the room. As she opened the patio door a fraction, they swooped down onto the chairs, warbling away as if wishing her a ‘Good morning.’ She made her way outside and sat down with her tea, and a crust from the end of her loaf.

It had started when she had thrown bits of crumbs from Molly’s toast; now they knew where to come for their breakfast. The magpies had gradually become bolder and bolder each day, until they now felt like a part of her family. They sat on the chairs while she drank her morning cuppa, and looked at her with their fierce expressions. Their beaks were long and looked as if they could give someone a nasty peck. The one that she recognized immediately she had named ‘Bright eyes.’ This bird was a young juvenile and seemed more alert and less bashful than the others. Bright eyes would take the bits of toast from her hand and would perch onto the next chair, as if she had been invited.

A movement in the kitchen area indicated to Naomie that her daughter was up.

‘Put some toast on, Molls, or we will be late!’

A face poked his head through the blinds; it was her son Evan

‘Still feeding these scrawny creatures, mum?’ he inquired. The birds looked over to him, and warbled uncertainly, then took flight. They sat on the nearest fence, looking at them by turning their heads from side to side.

‘You’ve frightened them now!’ she scolded her son.

‘Not to worry, they’ll be back, as sure as eggs are eggs. They must be the fattest birds around! There’s a wonder they can sit on that fence without it falling down!’ Naomie gave her son a friendly swipe across his head, and laughed.

‘It’s my contribution to my wildlife friends, cheeky!’ she cried.

As she buttered her toast, she looked up; the birds were back on the chairs like little sentries.

Her day had started.