Friday, November 19, 2010


Well, so this is how it is, Peeps - yesterday, intending to put up a small post, I wrote:

"Brighton in winter is lovely. Did I know this? Apparently not, or I would not find myself so surprised by unpeopled beaches, the pristine quality of the cold clear air, a kind of hush over everything that allows the natural world to reveal itself more completely.

I reached the afternoon threshold beyond which new creative work is exceedingly difficult and unlikely. But I did really want those oysters, feel something or other that's in them does me good - and I did really want to get out with the sky so suddenly clear."

And then a pigeon flew into the fireplace - a live, beady-eyed beauty of a bird, Father Christmas in pre-festive disguise perhaps, a winged messenger from the gods, or perhaps even the holy spirit him/her/itself (though it was not white so unlikely). But whatever, a bird. And thank goodness for the fire guard in its place, though we have not yet lit a fire in the grate and had e'en the night before the bird's appearance spoken of getting a chimney sweep in preparation.

Bird and I stared at each other, I in my human fashion, straight on, and bird in its fashion, turning its head from side to side. After a short while it got fed up and hopped from the grate, pushing at the fire surround with its beak and pecking at the ground at some ancient bits of grit. Not being a natural bird-grabber, in spite of having done night shifts on a kibbutz turkey farm years back, I went looking for helpful neighbours and found one in the flat immediate above. He was half way to the shower and late for the dentist but promised he would look in. Meanwhile bird and I communed. I dropped some pieces of bread down, which it snaffled up. The eye that beheld me kept filming over as the head tilted in that suggestive way pigeons have. It was a good-looking bird, but still, I wouldn't have wanted to touch it with a barge pole, I had promised the flat to friends for the weekend and had visions of it flying around the room, bashing into the floor to ceiling windows and crapping on the IKEA furniture. Sweet upstairs neighbour turned up, tried to grab the creature through carrier bags but in the end we trapped it under a waste paper basket and shoved a baking tray underneath before setting it free on the balcony.

Now the thing is, I really do have to Read the Signs in this. My paternal grandmother, a Jungian Analyst, died when I was six and foretold her own death by means of a bird (I don't know what kind) falling down her chimney. In her case, though, the bird was dead on arrival whereas my bird was alive-alive-oh! It's a case of 'physician heal thyself' when a Sign-reader can't read a Sign that literally stares her in the face.

So it's up for grabs. Any thoughts?

(M.E. is being a complete bastard at the moment, btw, and is hating any sniff of sustained creative endeavour. Had intended to bang on about that before bird interrupted).


Cusp said...

Yuk ! Horrid. Had same thing but blighter did crap all over everything, make sooty marks all over ceiling, walls, furniture: insurance job no less so you were lucky. And it terrifed the dog.

Not sure what this incident signifies. I reckon you can expect to be covered by a giant wastepaper basket and have tin tray shoved under your underparts by a half-naked man with bad teeth. Just make sure he doesn't try to put you in a pie with Guiness gravy.

P.S. M.E. is an utter bastard and should also be covered with a large wastepaper basket, have a tray shoved underneath it and then chucked out of the window or into the nearest roaring fire !

Reading the Signs said...

Cusp, apart from the detail of the bad teeth, that all sounds fine to me.

I just remembered about you and the pigeon!

Fire Bird said...

Wealth and success, oh yes, and happiness. Auspicious anyway, not in-. I like what you said about its eyes.

Reading the Signs said...

Good, good, FB - I was hoping for something like that.

Zhoen said...

Had a dove/pigeon of some sort get into an apartment once. Alarming while it' flapped frantically, but fine while sitting, staring. I caught it with a towel, and we walked it over to the aviary in the park, after no animal control would come to get it on an evening weekend. We walked it through the park, holding on with gentle firmness in the towel the whole way. Let it go just outside the fence, assuming it would get in over the top, and have food and water, help if it were injured, and if it came from there originally, it would be home.

Reading the Signs said...

I would not have coped well with a flapping bird, Zhoen. Would have ended up being in a flap myself. Lucky it arrived when I was there, I might easily not have been and it would have been stuck there.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

I've had many birds trapped in my fireplace. The distinction seems to be that if I'm around to hear them tapping on the glass door of the stove, then they are freed. If they choose a time when I'm away, destiny chisels them a different path. I've yet to work out whether my own fate is linked in any way.

Take it easy over winter. Ours was horrible. My advice - stay in bed and write slowly. Also eat lots of toast.



Reading the Signs said...

eh, Pants, if only we knew how to read all the Signs we'd surely know our purpose here, destiny and all. On the other hand we might go completely bonkers. One bird in the grate is enough for me, that's for sure.

Good winter advice - have already begun with the toast.

trousers said...

I cannot add any further suggestions to the ones above. Besides, I'm still trying to come to terms with waking up at 3am on Sunday, and finding myself trying to shout "you're all pathological liars!"

Reading the Signs said...

Trousers, I am impressed - on the rare occasion I have woken on the edge of shouting something, it hasn't been anything as coherent as that.