Friday, 17 July 2009

catch that pigeon

blokes up ladders, Walcot Street, Bath

Yesterday was Katie's school sports day (she had put her name down for the hop, skip and jump, because you've got to put your name down for something. She gets her enthusiasm for athletics from me). So I had to deliver her to the school sports ground, which is some way from the school.

We went by tandem, and as we cycled along we passed little knots of children in the school's PE kit, heading the same way.

"If I see anyone I know, I want to get off and walk with them," said Katie, who was becoming more mortified by the moment.

She didn't. We arrived and swung into the small car park, where other children were being dropped off in big cars.

"Just go. Now. Pleeeease" said Katie, who was now positively writhing on the back of the tandem.

I ignored her and kept going till we were clear of the car park (dangerous places on school runs, car parks) and looking out over the sports field where teachers and tables and children were arranging themselves about the place.

Katie was making little squeaking noises by now, so I left her to it.

Then over to Bath where I had arranged to meet my little brother Rufus and his family. They've been camping down Salisbury way.

I've not seen them for seven years, since my father's funeral.

They were running late, so I goofed on the promenade overlooking Pulteney weir, watching the tourists...


...and watching the seagulls whirling, looking for food to steal from the tourists or the ducks.


Then a seagull made a dive at a pigeon. The pigeon had a quite striking appearance; white, with black tail and markings.

They swooped to and fro; the seagull could fly faster, and would gain height and then dive at the pigeon, and the pigeon would jink out of the way. This was seriously high class aerobatics, better than the Red Arrows. You could have sold tickets. Finally the pigeon flicked under Pulteney Bridge, and the seagull pulled up at the last moment to avoid the arch, going "Curse you, Red Baron!" in seagull.

I went into the indoor market and bought a quarter of sarsaparilla drops, and had a look round, and went back down to the promenade.

In the middle of the road was the seagull with the pigeon in its beak. The pigeon was frozen; the seagull was bashing it against the road. People stood gawping at the show.


I dashed over to stop the murder. The seagull dropped the pigeon, which took to its wings and was away in a flash. Then the seagull faced up to me. Its beak was messy with feathers, and it looked quite miffed at being interrupted, and had that generally insanely psychotic appearance that seagulls do have, when you look them in the eye.

I, however, had a brolly, and I wasn't afraid to use it.



So it slouched off, muttering darkly of revenge.

And I met Rufus and Pauline, and the girls, and we had cups of tea and bacon butties in the market cafe and had a too-short chat before I had to dash off again for Bristol.