Big Bird

This world would be a better place if seagulls didn’t exist, according to my Mum. Our neighbour, dear old Finchy, feeds them tins of dog food without fail each day. The leader of the pack has a wingspan that frightens our rabbits, and is called ‘Big Bird’. Every morning, he taps his beak on their cat flap to remind her to feed him, which could be enough to win Britain’s Got Talent next yearBig Bird and his friends thank our neighbour by forming a squadron and covering our house, car, and clean washing in their gratitude. Their target practice is coming along – my brother scored three hits on his t-shirt last week.

The cawing morning chorus is something I miss when I’m in London. Granted, it can grate on the ear, but it’s the sound of the coast; the sound of home.

As I was running my morning sink (baths are beyond ‘hoppy’ here), I heard one seagull bleating out above all the others. On the nearby roof stood a gang of them, but it was easy to point out the guilty culprit from the line-up: I could practically see its tonsils wagging as it cried.

The gull stood on one leg, like me. The other leg dangled in the breeze and was shrivelled in size, just like mine. Before Mum shooed them away with her imaginary gunshots, I pointed this out to her.

It has to be said, Mum has a understandable hatred for the winged beasts. They often feature as headline villains in the local newspapers. Their cackling swooping parade around the garden is enough to coerce her into posting images of our smeared windows with a sprinkling of expletives on Facebook. She heavily resents that it’s our shop that sells those same tins of dog food to our neighbour, knowing full well what happens afterwards.

Before she grabbed her pots and pans to chase them off, she sighed. She couldn’t scare them away now that I’d shown her my feathery doppelganger. She almost felt pity for it – I could see a new wave of calm breaking across her face. Almost, but not quite. She opened the door and waved her arms around before they could do further damage. But I think that Mrs Finch is on to something – her roof is spotless.

You can watch a video of the gulls in full swing here.


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