Saturday, May 24, 2008

X-rays, new wave, dense rays, anyway

Living in a rural area you might expect to have more wildlife popping by the garden than in a more urban area. In the past we've had various birds (up to and including sparrow-hawks and a very lost homing pigeon which stayed for over a week before someone was sent from Newcastle to retrieve it) and pests such as rabbits, squirrels, moles, and mice. The pests bring predators such as the farm cats who used to regularly come through dragging whatever they'd caught that morning on the way back to the barn. Then there's farm animals that have escaped from wherever they were supposed to be. I was fortunate enough to miss out on having to deal with the cow in the back garden but I have chased sheep out of the driveway before. Horses pass by but don't take much interest, and luckily no one locally keeps pigs.

Anyway, yesterday was a new one because we had a peacock in the garden. A farm nearby keeps peafowl (peacocks and peahens) and this one had clearly caught the travelling bug. The night before it had been a-wandering up the road as if on the way to some appointment, and had apparently spent the night roosting in my neighbour's garden. The neighbour, on discovering it the next morning had feared for it's safety a little as they have two dogs and shooed the peacock onwards... into our garden.

The first I knew of it was a large shape passing the window as I made my breakfast, and then the neighbour came by to apologise and basically wish me the best of luck. I decided as the peacock seemed quite settled by the rhubarb (plenty of insects around there, I'd imagine) it could safely wait until after breakfast. So later, with my big black coat on to look extra threatening, I tried to shoo the peacock back towards the road in the vague hope it might find it's own way back to it's farm. Of course animals never go where you want them to go - that's why drovers had dogs to help - and we got as far as the end of our driveway before the peacock flew back up and landed back by the rhubarb.

I phoned the farm - they were busy but confident that the bird would make it's own way back if left to it's own devices, and if it didn't they would pop up and get it. In the event it stayed by the rhubarb until quite late in the evening.

The annoying thing was that a recording of a peacock would be really handy just now for work (and if you don't understand why, take a look at the front cover of The Adolescence of Time) but this one was not making a sound, and I didn't like to try to provoke it into vocalisations. Last year I tried to provoke my (then quite young) dog into vocalisations for use in The End of the World but all I got was a sound I later used for The Wake when Peter is sleeping. I had hoped for something a little more threatening.

I feel I should emphasise at this point that the whole peacock thing was only about an hour of my day (including eating breakfast), only some of us working-from-home types can get a bad rep. Particularly if they once wrote a piece of creative writing about being on exam leave and procrastinating rather than studying. Good, now that's done...


Anonymous said...

'It's still rock and roll to me'

Gremlin (yes, I'm back!)

David Cochrane said...

I would have just let the dog at it...