In Norwich

The Bird Feeder

All winter, at dusk, there’s just me and this man down by the lake. I am finishing my walk or run with Dylan, he is arriving with a carrier bag of bread to feed the swans and the ducks and the coots. He has a nice new silver German car, I notice that, and he wears an anorak with a furry hood, like a Parka. I notice that too. We say Hello to each other and that’s about all. Yesterday he extended the Hello to a ‘Soon be light.’ I stopped in my jogging to say, ‘Yes, then they’ll all be out,’ by which I meant the part-timers, the people who appear on my private land when the weather gets nice. You find them on my private beach too.

The bird feeder had no particular interest in my remark, choosing instead to head down a different path.
‘Soon, none of this will be here,’ he said.
‘What d’you mean?’ I asked.
‘Well, you know, everything, it’s all changing. Changing all the time.’
‘Climate change, d’you mean?’ I said, warily. I’m not a climo-scepticist, but I thought I might be speaking to a climo-evangelist here, and I avoid evangelists of any sort because you can’t have a conversation with them, you just have to listen to their manifesto until such point as you extricate yourself.
‘No,’ he replied, ‘Not that, just everything, all changing, all the time. How much longer can it go on?’ he asked.
I didn’t say anything to this. In the old days when I was a fresh-faced ingénue, I would have tried some sort of rejoinder, to be polite. But (as Betty Wright sang) I’m older now. Instead of a rejoinder I regarded him as he dipped into the bag and started to nibble at the crust from the top of the loaf he had in there, an economy white sliced, I noted, rather then the leftovers I had imagined. He is quite slender, he looks as though he could do with the food.
‘Think about cars,’ he said, ‘We won’t need them soon’, he said. ‘How much longer can cars last, really?’
‘Good question,’ I said as I started to jog off. He was not an evangelist, he was something else.

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18 Responses to In Norwich

  1. Jan says:

    life can get you like that!! :/

  2. markelt says:

    Are you sure they’re not moorhens?

  3. Stephen Foster says:

    Pls expand.

  4. Stephen Foster says:

    Would that make it different?

  5. OS says:

    >Would that make it different?

    As different as a horse and a cow. Div!

    I used to work with a bloke like him. One day he would speak to you and then the next day, he would completely ignore you. Mad Harry they called him.


  6. markelt says:

    It would to the poor coot / moorhen.

    One thing I always notice on my walks at this time of year is what bastards ducks are. There’s always five of them raping and half drowing some poor bloody female.

  7. makemeadiva says:

    Having lived on a river and observed the antics of waterfowl in the absence of any other amusement I can say there is no such thing as a poor coot. Moorhens are poor because they are idiot birds and coots bully them…

  8. markelt says:

    So in summary, winger’s encounter with Mad Harry was just a distraction from the real business of what utter bastards waterfowl are. 🙂

  9. makemeadiva says:

    Now that’s what I call insight!

  10. Stephen Foster says:

    So in further summary, Mad Harry is up to no good feeding those feathered Nazis and helping them stay alive?

  11. makemeadiva says:

    You should be careful. Mad Harry might be in league with the coots.

  12. Pel says:

    My dear mom would’ve called the bird feeder a right old Jobes comforter. What a lot of angry bird talk this morning! Must’ve been a bad night.

  13. Jan says:

    I meant that sometimes life can make people a bit nuts! I should know!! haha!

  14. Stephen Foster says:

    That, I like.

    It means this: ?

    Job’s comforter
    n : someone whose comfort is actually discouraging [syn: Job’s

  15. OS says:

    Dog owners are Job’s comforters. Maybe Mad Harry has gone a step further and looks after rapists and, perhaps, *murderers?

    *I’ll bet he feeds the crows who swoop down and eat the young of the rapists and their victims. I think you are refering to these.

    Normal ducks/coots/moorhens don’t rape their chosen spouse.


  16. makemeadiva says:

    There’s a vile sprint at Donny today 4.10.

    I was going to back Sonny Red. Then I noticed a horse called Jobe down the handicap with a liking for soft ground.

  17. Stephen Foster says:

    So what are we to do?

    reverse forecast? : )

  18. makemeadiva says:

    I am invoking the hairy goat paradigm. Sorry.

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