Outside on the grass verge, six seagulls (at various stages of maturity) and two extremely ugly black crows are squabbling over something. I wade out into battle, making what I hope are threatening shoo-ing noises. I am
wearing my bedroom slippers and a somewhat flimsy dressing gown over my nightie. A sight for sore eyes comes to mind.
It is freezing cold and it occurs to me that
I am inappropriately dressed for my Crow and Seagull Scaring Mission. I do have a warmer dressing gown, plus fluffy boot-like slippers - were I to be wearing these on this cold, wintry morning, I would resemble a small polar bear and - possibly - be much more
frightening in appearance. Our home, however, is like a hothouse because Mr B feels the cold. He is One Exotic Plant and I am the person who is charged with his wellbeing, which includes keeping him toasty warm in all weathers. Our hothouse is, however, far
too warm for me, especially when dressed in my polar bear outfit. Besides the Youngest of the Darling Daughters gave me a beautifully elegant dressing gown for Christmas, short but sweet - though possibly not as draught-proof as is needed as I face the elements
(and the seagulls.)
The seagulls scatter at my approach - though only as far as the garden wall where they perch and gaze upon me with baleful eyes. The two crows
remove themselves to next door’s garden. The cause of the squabbling becomes apparent - Somebody Unknown has deposited a bag containing the remnants of what looks like a chicken curry takeaway on our grass verge. It is truly disgusting.
It would be tempting to turn a blind eye and just leave it there for somebody else to deal with but this is, after all, our grass verge - as in, the one outside our house.
Heaven forefend that anyone might think I was to blame for this blot on the landscape. Or blot on our verge. I fetch a bin liner from my kitchen cupboard and try to shovel the remnants of the takeaway curry into it; splatters of rice escape and litter the
grass. The seagulls watch me resentfully as I take their breakfast and put it in my rubbish bin. The crows decide that anything is better than nothing and set about hoovering up the grains of rice. I leave them to it.
It’s not exactly the best start to the day, now is it? But, hey, it’s bound to get better, don’t you know?
In any case it started me thinking about Seagulls I Have Known. Or, perhaps, been acquainted with, if only momentarily. There was the seagull who swooped down and stole granddaughter Katie’s chips, plastic fork still attached,
soaring off into the sky above Brighton beach where we were enjoying a fish ‘n’ chip lunch. There was the seagull who actually visited a friend of mine for breakfast every day, stalking into her conservatory at the same time each morning as if
placing her order in a posh restaurant. When her off-spring hatched out, she threw them all out just as soon as they could flutter - there was no way she was sharing her breakfast with them.
Then I remember the baby seagull which staggered perilously up and down the roof of our Next Door But One neighbours for several painful weeks last year. Every day I watched him grow, followed his progress, worried about him. Could
it possibly be that he was among the squabblers outside on the grass verge? There was definitely at least one juvenile among them.
Obviously I have had no part
in his upbringing or he would have been so much better behaved...