11 February 2019


A weird sound woke me one morning when the edge of the eastern sky had just started to lighten up. It was a grunt, a honking noise followed by a shrill squeak.
‘Honk-honk-shriek; onk-onk-skeeik.’ 
I stuck my head out the bathroom window. Still too dark for much besides shadows, I could only see an outline before the blob let out another string of shrieks. 

‘I wonder if it’s a pig?’
‘It’s not a pig.’
‘Yeah, wrong shape.’
‘What then?’
‘I think it’s a goose.’
‘It can’t be a goose either.’
‘There’s nothing else it could be.’
‘Nobody keeps geese around here.’
It is 5 am and my husband doesn’t want to get out of bed. Still, he does want to tell me what the thing isn’t.
Wondering if geese flew south to Australia, or if they came from Russia, I realised this was our cold season. They’d hardly fly south in the European summer, would they? 
I’m always dozy at dawn, when I haven’t showered or had a coffee. I’m dim at other times too, though it is always worse on misty midwinter mornings.
Husband breathes deeply; asleep again already. Awake, I need to see the goose thing up close.
There’s frost outside; even in woolly slippers, my feet feel frozen. The dog’s water is ice-crusted

The shrieking bird/animal is hard to make out. Getting closer, he rushes away. Quiet for a minute, it honks as soon as I creep forward again. 
Standing still, he checks me out. There’s a top notch on  his head in the shape of a fan. It’s a bird with its own grey fascinator. There’s also a hint of green feathers in the pale dawn light.
A peacock, it must be a juvenile peacock that hasn’t come into its blue feathers yet.  Well, fancy that.


  1. Is that a young Mr Popples?

  2. Nope, I got the bird sex wrong...it's Professor Popplecock, who had a name change Deep Dene and is now called Poppy.