I think it is probably unlikely that I will ever spend another May Bank Holiday Monday afternoon searching suburbia for an escaped parrot.
The weekend was a diverting mix of camaraderie and farce, and highlights involved:
- A manly version of A Really Good Night In, which is a charity thing (mainly marketed at ladies in their 30s) where you have a night at home with some friends and donate the money that you would otherwise have spent on a big night out. The instructions said that ideally you should have cocktails and crafts as part of your night, so we drank snakebite and manufactured tasteful t-shirts (modelled here by my old mate Rich) for each other.
- A Sunday on Tom Thumb, my new boat (I say ‘new’, but in fact, though new to me, she is substantially older than I am). She is moored in Chertsey, and Sunday was supposed to be our first intrepid foray out on the stormy waters of the Thames, but in the event, my ancient Evinrude outboard motor refused resolutely to start. By 4.30, despite involving two mechanics from the boatyard and acquiring a pungent residual aroma of petrol which hung about me for the next 24 hours, I cut my losses and paid the mechanics 65 quid to take it to bits.
- A Monday afternoon wandering round leafy Essex in the sunshine, looking for an escaped African Grey parrot called Frodo. After a phone call from the boatyard to say they’d flushed the carburettor and the outboard was starting fine again, E and I were setting out round lunchtime, when we got a call to say that her family’s pet parrot had got out of the house and flown off down the road, so we drove over to help with the hunt.
Such an episode could well have had a bleak ending, but happily, two and a half hours later, after scouring the area (a curtain-twitcher photographed me on her iPad as a potential burglar) and flyering a significant chunk of the neighbourhood, the errant bird was discovered clinging fearfully to a drainpipe.
As we drove back to do a bit of gardening, we spotted a little girl pottering up the street, clutching one of the flyers and peering hopefully up into the trees. Presumably the local children will be continuing the search for at least the rest of the week.