Tag Archives: Geese

My Fascist Goldfish

25 Jan

Here’s the thing: the Hub loves animals.  I think you know that.  He’s always mooning over the geese in the park; yesterday he trained three scared mothers and their even more scared offspring to not only feed the geese but to let them take the bread from their hands.  A good day’s work.

That would be fine if his love of animals stayed in the park, but it spills over into our home and makes the thing I hate most in the world: clutter.  We don’t have one gerbilarium, we have three, all different sizes.  We have seven bags of food that our dead gerbil will never eat.  We have three leads per dog and one spare in case we lose five; the dogs have two and five coats (Molly is nesh); boxes of dog treats; boxes of gerbil treats; and – and I really wish I was exaggerating here but I’m not – four huge binbags full of gerbil toys, courtesy of Freegle and car boot sales.  How sad that you can’t take it with you, or Callie would be the happiest gerbil in heaven and I would be the happiest housewife on earth. 

A cage the Hub built for the gerbils to exercise in. It's stuffed behind the couch now.

As well as all that, we have the fish.  You may remember I rescued Bill last year from his little plastic tank and his lonely existence.  The Hub approved so much that he immediately bought a proper tank and five other fish for company.  Bill is thriving, as are the other four (one was a weakling who couldn’t cut it in the big world, sadly).  So much so, they outgrew their tank and the Hub insisted we get them a bigger one.  To be fair, the small big tank was horribly dark and dank compared to the big big tank. 

The Hub replaced the stones with sand, bought more fresh plants, rocks and wood.  And four shrimp; ostensibly because ‘they’ll clean the tank’ but really because ‘they’re sooooo cute.’

The tank is lovely. 

But there was one horrible, unforeseen and appalling side-effect: if the fish can see us, we can see the fish.  Here’s Jock:

Or Adolf, as he’s now known.

Tales From Mother Goose

7 Aug

I like geese.  We have geese at Alexandra Park and they will take bread from your hands and hiss if they think you are ignoring them.  I thought I’d share some interesting facts:

  • they always fly in a ‘V’ formation; it gives them 71% more flying range (I wonder how scientists measured that?)
  • all the geese in the flock go off on holiday together; no matter how weak or old they are, no-one is left behind; they fly at the back, where it’s easiest 
  • if a bird becomes too weak to fly, a couple of the others will accompany it to land and stay with it until it dies  or recovers.  How wonderful is that?  here’s a haiku to celebrate:

Friendship 

Geese guard a stricken
comrade until it dies or
flies again – how neece.

  • they mate till death do them part and might be widowed for years before choosing another mate
  • they home, which reminds me that I’ve been meaning to tell you about the Hub’s Granddad Herbert, who raced pigeons as a hobby, carefully feeding and breeding and cherishing them and then, once their useful life was at an end, eating them

  • each formation has a lead goose who sets the pace; when it tires, it falls back and another goose takes the lead
  • they honk to encourage each other to keep going, a bit like the Hub’s wife when he’s tired of stroking her hair
  • lost geese or those who’ve stayed behind to help a poorly pal are welcomed into passing formations as members of the family

  •  they make great guard dogs (warning: this video contains excessive melodrama):

 

Here Come The Birds

29 Jan

Summertime and the living is easy

The Hub and I went on a mercy mission yesterday.  The poor birds in our local park are starving.  The reservoir still has patches of ice in the corners (how odd that water has corners) and was still almost completely frozen over last week.  We took the dog for his walk there on Tuesday and noticed an old lady feeding the birds.  The geese – about fifty of them – climbed out of the water and surrounded her, then followed her back to her car when she was done; they also scavenged for food on the ground.  I have never seen anything like it.  Geese in our park are usually quite stand-offish.  They consent to be fed upon occasion but they often get bored and leave it to the ducks.  The ducks didn’t get a bite on Tuesday.  

The Hub took one look at the stalking geese and dumped me and the dog to go buy a loaf; and we went back yesterday with more.  It’s not fun to be hungry, I imagine.  I am fortunate enough never to have missed a meal that wasn’t scheduled by a diet.

My diets don’t last long – about mid-morning, usually.  I like food; I really do.   Hot roast dinners with all the trimmings; cheese & onion crisps followed by Maltesers and a mug of Earl Grey; steak, egg & chips; lasagne; hot, buttered toast; cheese & pickle on crackers with a glass of cold milk…that’s today’s menu sorted.

Thinking about food distracts me from today’s problem: paying bills.  I like paying bills because it means I can breathe for another month; but I don’t like going into Stockport to do it.  I have never been a great shopper (except for food shopping: I like food shopping).  I read these surveys about 98% of women spending a third of their lives in Sainsburys and Top Shop and I wonder, who are these people?  If my children are home, my bills paid and my cupboards full, I am happy.  I don’t get the compulsion to spend whole Saturdays in packed precincts, queuing for forty minutes to buy three vests and a sale corset that is two sizes too small and will be worn only once because you nearly choked on the fat that was pushed upwards, giving your neck nowhere to go and the sound of exploding satin left your husband temporarily deaf and he still screams when he passes the lingerie section of Debenhams.

Paying bills isn’t really the problem: that was a distraction from the real issue: public toilets.  I can’t be out for more than an hour in winter without the cold attacking the nether regions (see that clever use of the definite article so you don’t think it’s my nether regions I’m talking about?  I would never discuss such a delicate subject with my public; the children don’t like it).  Actually, it’s not even the public toilets that’s the problem; they are usually cleaned every hour or I report them to the manager if I am not completely satisfied.  It is those horrible, awful, disgusting air dryers.  I hate them, no matter how cool Madonna made them look in Desperately Seeking Susan.  You put wet hands under the dryer and it’s not so bad if it’s automatic but what if it has one of those huge silver buttons to press?  You don’t want to touch that grubby thing with your nice clean hands so you raise an elbow but if you’re short like me it slides off at first contact, throwing you off balance; you find yourself on the filthy floor (it’s been fifty-nine minutes since the last inspection) and you have to start the whole hand washing cycle again. 

If you are lucky enough to have a modern air dryer, the damn thing won’t start no matter how much you shake your hands under it, so you move away and say apologetically to the woman behind you who picked you up off the floor, ‘It’s not working; sorry,’ and she smiles like you’re an idiot because she can’t hear you over the rush of air coming from the dryer.  Defeated, you shuffle wearily out, shaking your hands as you go and looking for all the world like you escaped from a Bob Fosse audition; but it’s cold out there, remember, and you don’t want to put wet hands in your mittens so you wipe them on your trouser leg, by which you mean your bum but you say ‘trouser leg’ because you don’t want anyone to think you uncouth.  And that’s how you’re going to spend this afternoon: walking around Stockport with wet hand prints on your backside, showing the world how couth you really are.

 

 

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