I have a walk to the station every morning to go to work and it is fairly quiet. Not too much traffic, not too many people, good thinking time. This morning was totally different; I thought I had walked on to the set of a remake of Dr Doolittle. I really was walking with the animals and muttering at them under my breath would definitely constitute talking to them. Let me explain that I like seeing the odd squirrel, bird, fox or cat on my way to work. They all have a place in this world of ours, but all of them in one half an hour walk, and not just singularly, that is a bit too much. As I came out of the estate I saw a fox across the road nearby, just minding his own business, no problem. As I went round the corner a little brown dog with his owner, which I see regularly, went passed, a little excitable but still no problem. Walking along I realised that there were rather more birds in the air than usual, reminding me of a certain Hitchcock film. Even though I was worried about being the recipient of their target practice, still no problem. Then I saw what had been recently causing me to develop a slight “obsession” ........ a single magpie. When I say a single magpie, I don’t mean the kind of magpie that needs a dating agency, I mean a lone magpie, a"one for sorrow" magpie. I instantly scan, trees and rooftops in the surrounding area to see if I can see one of his mates; but no, he is part of the conspiracy.
You see, what magpies do is fly around in gangs until they see a slightly stressed looking person and they send out one of their kind. While the cocky one struts up and down in my line of vision, the other malicious, feathery devils are hiding behind a bush, rolling around with laughter at the unsuspecting human who they are taunting. I am convinced I sometimes see a snippet of black and white tail bobbing about behind the bushes. There are mornings when I would cheerfully grab the black and white joker around the throat and demand to know the whereabouts of his mates. As yet I have managed to control myself as I do not really want to be taken in and put under strict psychological scrutiny or, even worse, be subjected to hate mail from the Bill Oddie bird watching club.
Anyway, back to the morning in question. After the fox, the dog, the birds and, of course, the magpie ( singular) I was quickly sidestepping a thin, evil looking black cat who was giving me a condescending look because I was clearly in the way, when I realised I was actually muttering away like a wee- soaked old bag lady. Seconds later a squirrel, who I could only presume was being pursued by the Hounds of Hell, shot past me so fast I almost spun a full three hundred and sixty degree pirouette trying to get out of the way. ( Can I add that I never actually saw the hounds)
One more cat and numerous birds later I finally arrived at the station., happy to be among that most exotic of creatures....... the commuter. ( but that is another story)