Tales of catastophe, sex and squalor from the Alpine Underbelly...

Belle de Neige

Monday, 26 July 2010

A blackbird

So...I took the ferry at dawn and watched that strange little parched party island fade into obscurity. I left Ibiza. No place is so big for its boots. It gets pretty small amazingly quickly when you leave...

I was rescued by Dad at a rendezvous point in Valencia and we drove three days straight to get home. Despite the fact that I had clearly got myself into a massive clusterfuck of a skint, ridiculous situation we both secretly quite enjoyed the trip. My Dad enjoys a good excuse to drift around in the car between bizarre tumbleweed french towns at the best of times. The opportunity to wonder around looking for good restaurants in his summer safari uniform (ankle swingers, socks and sandals) makes him positively chipper. So it was all gravy for him.

So here I am back at home.

A large blackbird with an orange beak flew into the house today.

I was sitting alone in the dining room at my laptop (yes, I am trying to earn some money) when it alighted nonchalantly on the easy chair and peered calmly at me through one of its spry little eyes. It winked at me.

‘Cheeky fucker!’ I thought.

Then it hopped twice and ruffled some rather glossy feathers. A fine looking specimen, and unusually for a bird, it seemed completely calm about its presence in the house. Usually birds go ballistic and hurl themselves at the walls, braining themselves in desperation for escape.

My next reaction was to roll my eyes and mutter, 'oh for fucks sake' under my breath, before stalking off to the kitchen to retrieve a tea-towel. A tea-towel is the time-honoured tool in my Dad's household for ushering spooked, confused wildlife that has strayed over the threshold back to the wilderness. One can either flap it around extravagantly, matador-style or discombobulate whichever rodent or feathered friend one is dealing with by shouting ‘FREEZE!’ and chucking the tea-towel over its head.

Anyhoodle, Before I had time to arrange my tea-towel strategy, it had relocated to the top of the kitchen door and then the laundry pile. I cornered it near the coat rack and made a shushing sound at it.

‘Bugger off!’ I said firmly, indicating the door.

And it did. Just as calmly as it had arrived it flew out of the door. I stood for a minute and stared after it, slightly moved, in spite of myself.

It is said, by vacant, superstitious house wives the world over that a bird in the house can mean two things. It is both a portender of death and a visitation of comfort from a loved one. A superstition of course.

Paranoia is the friend of superstition. And in my book superstition is the friend of OCD and my least favourite bane of society… religion. I have no time for it. Superstition is the reason SbH spends his entire time scampering around looking alarmed and saluting thin air whenever he comes to visit me at home.

‘There’s a shit load of magpies round here’ I always tell him, ‘you’re never gonna get them all. Imagine if everyone in the country spent the whole time saluting them. Nothing would get done. I’ve never saluted one in all my days as a country bumpkin, what the fuck do you think’s going to happen?’

He eventually and very grumpily conceded that saluting all of them was impractical, and now (demonstrating a note of stubbornness which is both endearing and reflective of his Irish roots) just does one massive comprehensive salute when he arrives, a general big up to all the magpies in the locale.

I detest superstition. But I must nevertheless concede to finding pleasure at least in the fleeting notion that my Mum popped in to see if I was ok today. She died five years ago on July 26th. And sadly The Ex also lost his Mother two days ago. A lovely, kind lady who lived for her family and had a way of speaking to you that always made you feel she was genuinely interested in your life.

Maybe it was Laura making a little visit.

Maybe it was nothing.

Today I was going to apologise for the radio silence over the last few weeks and regale you with some absolutely filthy stories of what I’ve been up to lately. Glastonbury. The party to end all parties (we literally ripped parties a new arsehole), the big countdown to the imminent birth of my niece. Hell I’ve even taken part in an impromptu orgy. But more of that later, I promise. Today is a day to think of others.

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