Archive | 12:58

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

7 Mar

  There are a lot of bad people in the world.  People who cast a shadow over ordinary life; who leave us horrified at their unbelievable cruelty towards the defenceless: most recently, 23 swans killed for ‘sport’.  I don’t understand the mentality that would kill an animal for anything other than necessity.

The Hub drives me crazy but I can’t level the accusation ‘swan murderer’ at him; quite the opposite: a couple of years ago, a November Saturday night was enlivened by just such poultry.  Spud ran downstairs to tell us there was a swan in the road outside.  We all ran outside to see.  It lay there, perhaps stunned, in the middle of quite a busy street.  Someone had called the RSPCA but they refused to come out unless it was hurt, which it wasn’t at that stage.  We thought about calling the Queen because the Crown owns all swans, but I think she has karaoke on Saturday nights.

We were concerned about what might happen to the swan, between the cars, cats, dogs, foxes, and yobs with fireworks.  In fact, I don’t know why I’m surprised at this recent slaughter; how many times do we read of youths sticking fireworks up the bottoms of animals and lighting them?  Every year around bonfire night, that’s how many.  What chance would a stranded swan have in this neighbourhood? 

In the night shadows it seemed to have mistaken the road for water, and had simply settled down where it was.  It wouldn’t be coaxed or chased to safety, but it wasn’t aggressive, in spite of the crowd surrounding it.  The Hub talked to it for a bit, and tried to feed it some bread, which was refused.  Then he stroked its neck for ages.  He has real patience with animals and that’s half the battle.  Once it relaxed, he wrapped it in a blanket and carried it to the car, where it sat on Tory Boy’s knee, hissing occasionally, until they arrived at the local reservoir, where the Hub released it unharmed.  We call him ‘The Swan Whisperer’ now, because it trusted him so completely. 

What a privilege to get so close to such a magnificent creature!  I wasn’t the only one to think so: half the neighbours were out by the end, most too terrified to help, but sending it good thoughts (not everyone in this street is a firework-yielding, animal-hating thug, though we have our fair share).  The swan was terribly dignified, as befitted its royal status.  It was tagged, but the night was too dark to read it.  I’m sad that we’ll never know what happened to it.  Nothing good, I fear: there are no swans on the reservoir any more.

To save time and to stress the swan as little as possible, I had given the Hub my house key ring (you don’t ever leave a door unlocked around here; unless you like paying high insurance premiums), as it had the spare car key attached.  I had no desire to get into a confined space with a hissing bird; I opted to stay and make hot drinks instead.  As I waved off the Hub, Tory Boy, Spud and Swan, it suddenly occurred to me that I had given the Hub the spare car key with the house keys attached…I was locked out.  Eight o’clock on a winter’s night, with two expensive cameras around my neck and no coat, in a street that had six serious crimes last month, according to the government’s new crime map…

Fortunately for me, there were no serious crimes on our street that night.  The menfolk only took about twenty minutes, not wanting to hang around in a park in the shadows, for fear of arrest.  It only took a couple of hours for me to thaw.  The excitement made me quite hungry: I could have murdered some roast chicken.

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