Sunday, 22 February 2015
“Good afternoon Mr Seagull.” I call, “I wonder if you would mind answering a few questions for me?”
“What about?” The seagull called back. He was flying in circles above my head.
“I am interested in the life of seagulls,” I called back, and deciding that perhaps a bit of flattery might persuade him added, “ I just think seagulls are so interesting and you are such handsome birds.”
He floated down to the ground, landed beside me and turned his head to one side, eyeing me warily.
“I shall answer your questions on one condition,” he said.
“Name it.” I said.
“Stop calling me a seagull.”
“Yes of course,” I said, “but why?”
“Because I ain’t a... Suddenly he jumped forward, jabbed his beak into the mud and pulled a worm out, “I ain’t a bleedin’ seagull that’s why.”
“But you are, you are a black headed gull.”
“Yes mate, a gull. Not a SEA gull. Look around mate, where are we? In a field right? You might as well call me a fieldgull. And what’s with the blackheaded bit? Have a look mate, what colour is my head?”
“Exactly mate, white. And in the summer when I look me best it is brown. It ain’t never black mate. I do have a cousin who has a black head but he lives in the Mediterranean not here.”
“In my bird identification book,” I tell him, “you are called a black headed gull.”
“Well obviously whoever wrote your book didn’t do his research. I ain’t a seagull and I ain’t got a black head. End of mate, end of. I prefer to be called George. Now if you would like to get on with your questions I ain’t got all day. There is a tractor coming and it looks like it’s about to do some ploughing. I don’t want to miss out.”
“There are so many sea...er gulls following that plough, do each of you get enough to eat?”
“No mate we don’t. It’s a struggle. Too many scrabbling for too little reward. I blame the immigrants mate.”
“What do you mean immigrants?”
He looks at me pityingly. “Foreigners mate, bloody immigrants! Look at that lot there. More than half of those gulls are east Europeans mate. They come to Britain, eat all the worms and stuff. There ain’t enough to go round mate. We are only a small island. They come over here. Eat all our stuff. It ain’t right!”
“Let’s not get political.” I say.
“Yeah you’re right mate. Sorry about that. Don’t mean to sound racist. One of my best friends is a starling from Poland.”
“Changing the subject, what’s it like bobbing about on the ocean?”
He looks at me angrily. “Bobbing about? Bobbing a bleedin’ bout” he splutters. “Do I look like a bleedin’ rubber duck? I don’t bob about. Takes me all my time finding enough to eat mate. I ain’t got time to bob about!”
“Sorry I didn’t mean to upset you.” I say. “Can I ask what it’s like scavenging on rubbish dumps?
This question riles him even more. “Right that’s it mate. Interview over. I'm spitting feathers here mate. You are a bleedin’ joke mate. You got no idea how difficult life is for a gull mate. No bleedin’ idea at all! A joke mate! A joke!
With that, he flies up and circles around screeching loudly.
“SORRY!” I shout up to him, “REALLY SORRY!”
Suddenly he swoops real close and a great glob of shit hits me full in the face.
“Have some of THAT!” He calls and flies off to join the other sea...er gulls following the tractor.