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I had run out of bird seed so decided to ride the Honda DT1100 to Home Bargains as it was the only bike in the garage with panniers. I crossed town and as it was only 9.30am the roads were quiet. £13 lighter, I had loaded up with suet fat balls, half coconuts stuffed with seeds and peanut butter, dried mealworms, black sunflower hearts…… most things a bird would want.

Crow

Image | Kurt Bouda from Pixabay

A pair of bluetits had been busy backwards and forwards gathering seed and taking it to the birdbox on the side of the property by the kitchen window. These pretty little birds have a strange flight pattern, swooping up and down before precision landing on the wooden box.

The previous day I had been in the garden clearing out weeds from the border when suddenly I felt something land on my left shoulder. There, staring at me with a morsel in its mouth, was a Robin. Unbelievable.

I loaded up the feeders, went inside and made a coffee. Back outside, I sat on the patio from where I could watch the bird feeder from through the rotary washing line, which was full of wet clothing. God, this paranoia, once it gets a hold, is a nightmare. I was trying to finish off reading Hunter S. Thompson’s Kingdom of Fear, when suddenly I was distracted as in my peripheral vision I could see movement. Another bloody crow sitting atop the feeder, making that horrible cawing noise, communicating to its mates that dinner was on the table. I waved my right arm in frustration and shouted expletives. “That’s for the small garden birds you fuckers, not you and the wood pigeons and the blackbirds and the magpies…”

My wife came out of the kitchen and asked if I was okay, and was it not time that I took a Diazepam as the men in white coats would be arriving shortly. Try explaining to a room full of psychos, sorry, psychiatrists, that you had been stalking crows. Whamo. Throw the nutter in the padded cell and feed him on crow’s heart for dinner. Yes siree, washed down with a nice glass of Chianti…

Crow

Image | Steve from Pixabay

Waving my arms around reminded me of the time I was working as a volunteer for the Red Cross as an ambulance tech. My colleague and I were on duty at an off-road event when a call through the radio that an accident had occurred on the other side of the track. A 15-year-old girl had been thrown from her motocrosser and dislocated her shoulder… not for the first time, apparently. My colleague had only just returned with two cups of coffee and we had been sitting in the cab when the call came through. Jumping into action, blue lights and siren blaring, he went to jettison his hot coffee out of the window, forgetting that he had previously wound up said window. He screamed as hot coffee splashed back at him, scolding his hand and soaking his clothing.

Back to the garden vigil. Enough of this. I went up to the study and continued working on Classic Motorcycle Mechanics, every now and again distracted by the sound of crows cawing. Just fuck off and find some roadkill, why don’t you. I was jolted out of my thought processes by a knock at the door. It was Jason who had come to collect the Honda. “How did you like it?” he asked. “It would have been better had I struck a few crows,” I replied. He looked at me quizzically, shrugged his shoulders and wheeled the bike up the ramp. In many cultures, seeing a single black crow is considered an omen of bad luck or misfortune. It’s often thought that if you spot one, it’s a sign that something unpleasant is on the horizon. Just then an unmarked vehicle pulled up on my driveway and out spilled men in white coats.

Gonzo

Main image | LoggaWiggler from Pixabay

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