Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Sleep has been coming easily but staying asleep has been more of a struggle. If it’s not the clammy warmth that wakes me, it’s the squealing kids in their swimming pool. This morning, however, it was the magpies at six o’clock.

It appears to be a good year for those black and white villains. They are everywhere. A family have made a nest in the huge conifer in the land behind the house. From there, they’re launching all manner of devious scheme on the neighbourhood. The small bird population seems to have entirely disappeared and three times in the last week magpies have actually come into the house, leaving me to try my best to usher them out as they smash, scream, and shit their way around the room. The ugly little brutes clearly think they’re in a territorial dispute they’ll win. And I’m not so sure they won’t.

The problem with magpies is that despite my outward appearance of a rational man, I am prone to the occasional lapse into superstition. I can’t see a magpie without feeling the urge to salute the little bugger. I suppose it’s a traditional thing in these parts to salute and to say ‘Good morning, General, and say hello to the missus…’ I don’t know why I do it but I feel like I’ll have bad luck if I don’t. Then again, after years of saluting them, my luck still seems abnormally bad.

I’m conflicted, therefore, when they break into the house. I’ll usually panic, salute, mutter some ancient sayings, whilst also waving a cushion around my head as I try to usher them out through the back door. Waking me at dawn is probably their version of psychological warfare. They clearly learned a thing or two from the tricks the CIA played to get General Noriega out of the Vatican’s embassy in Panama. They probably think it will affect my ability to respond the next time they try to invade. And they will try again and they might succeed. Tomorrow, this blog might be written by a magpie and some might think that’s not a bad idea.

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