Less Fish. More Chips.
On moving to Stratford upon Avon.
‘To be honest I was a bit reluctant to make the move from Weston Super Mare to Stratford upon Avon But I’m glad I did now. Cousin Jeremiah was right, you can have too many fish.
Anyway, the original plan was to take advantage of Stratford’s rubbish tip but that got a bit boring and to be honest, bloody hard work picking through black plastic bags. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before we realised that there was a chip feast to be had.
So that’s where you’ll find us now, swooping down on innocent, mainly Brummie (Birmingham) tourists. I don’t think I’ve been hungry since we arrived. The only problem being, watching the weight. Taking off and landing can be a bit awkward if you’re carrying a little bit extra. Still, swings and roundabouts’.
It always makes me laugh how many humans actually believe we pick our targets when conducting our aerial ablutions. If you get hit by our shit, let me tell you it’s sheer bad luck. None of us have the time to choose our targets because for us eating is the name of the game, not competition shitting. Not only that, it’s very immature.
Although, to be honest, (I’ve just remembered) actually there was one instance where me and Jerimiah had been hitting Tesco’s fermented fruit bin a little hard and we spotted the local Vicar on his weekly shop.
To cut a long and drunken story short. I won. 100 points and two far-gone peaches.
From the Mouths of Babes
There are a section of our gull group that disapprove absolutely of some of the tactics that myself and Cousin Jeremiah use to feed. They are so against our methods that they use such words as, shameful and even unethical. Which personally, I think is going a little too far and at times, extremely hurtful.
What this dissenting group have a personal dislike for is our snatching of food from children, or to be more precise, babies.
Cousin Jerimiah is particularly resourceful at this method and very highly skilled. I myself have witnessed him swooping (a seagull term), in on a victim’s (shall we say for arguments sake,) ice cream cone at such speed and retrieving (stealing) it before the victim has even realised what has happened. In some cases causing the victim to bite (if they have teeth) their own finger.
I really do think it is disingenuous of our peers to complain of our methods. They seem to have forgotten that we have outgrown the ‘old ways’ of hunting and the quicker we adapt to the new situations (and diet) we find ourselves in, the better.
Clean as a whistle, fresh as a daisy
Had to laugh. Poor cousin Jerimiah made a bad landing today straight onto one of those Human oil slicks that we all try to avoid. He’d been at the fermented fruit again, was a bit skew-wiff and hit the slick perfectly. The flock hadn’t enjoyed themselves so much since Peter Aviator Seagull got trapped inside ‘Barnaby’s Fish Restaurant’ overnight.
Thankfully in Jerimiah’s case there were humans about and as expected they took him under their wing (so to speak) for a clean-up. This has happened before. Our friends (or ‘assorted idiots’ as they are better known) disappear for a day or two and come back cleaned up and as good as new. Not sure why the humans do it (although it is their mess) but I suppose we should be grateful
In Jerimiah’s case I think they went a little over the top. They must have been using a new and untested detergent. No-one recognized him on his return. Talk about as fresh as a daisy. The white bits were whiter than any white bits ever seen and he smelt like ‘a (Human) tarts bedroom’ (I believe the expression is). Me and the flock laughed so much that I had to have a rooftop sit down for a couple of hours because my sides were aching so much. It takes a lot for me to miss opening time.
Masters of the Skies…my feathered arse
Here’s a little something for all those Humans who are easily impressed regarding our so-called flying skills. Let me tell you, all is not what it seems.
For all those who sit in wonder and awe as we apparently ride the currents as Masters of the skies. For those who marvel at our amazing abilities to hover, swoop and dive, Let me tell you…WE ARE DESPERATELY TRYING TO LAND.
The fact is, in a high wind we’re stuck up there. And not only does it make a mess of your feathers, it’s bloody cold. Think about it. Why on earth would we want to be flying about like (admittedly) majestic lunatics when we could be on the ground eating and nestling by a warm waste pipe?
See, the trouble is, our wingspan. Its bloody huge and like it or not we are at the mercy of a high wind. We can’t land. We have to spend hours up there floating about like idiots looking like we’ve nothing better to do. We’re stuck until the wind dies down and we can make some attempt at landing. I can tell you there are moments when I feel like one of those Human kid’s kites. Round and round, up and down all day. I wish I was attached to a piece of string and someone could pull me down.
And Gales? Forget it. If there was some way we could tell when one was coming, you wouldn’t see a gull in the sky until it had passed. Once I was caught in my thermals (as we jokingly refer to it ha-ha) in a gale for nearly 24 hours. I can tell you when I eventually felt the earth beneath my claws, I was fed up and bloody starving.
So, next time you see us up there gliding about as though we are enjoying it, remember, WE’RE NOT, and would give anything to be stealing your chips as the seagull God meant us to do.
Please refrain from using Barbecue Sauce on your chips
Farewell old Friend
Although life has changed for us gulls tremendously over the past few years, there are some traditions that we hold sacred. For instance, (and you may have noticed this) it is very rare for a Human to find the carcass of a dead brethren. There is a reason for this.
It is written (somewhere) that a gull must always die at sea. Of course, with most of us living inland these days this rule can be a right pain in the arse however, it is never broken unless there’s an emergency or an act of (seagull) God. (Emergency – Run over by a refuse truck. Act of seagull God – Heart attack).
I find myself telling of this rarely-broken rule because today we all attended a very sad goodbye to one of our ‘leaders’, Roly Thomas Seagull. Extremely old and revered as one of the first gulls to discover (and lecture about) what we call, ‘The Charm of Chips’, Roly had reached the end of the road.
Unfortunately, his love of the fried potato (and related food types) had led to a very unhealthy lifestyle. Terribly overweight and in his dotage, he had come to rely on the younger gulls to bring him his beloved battered sausage and chips, which they did day after day, 24/7. Unfortunately, this itself took a toll on the old boy and it wasn’t long before he realised, he wouldn’t be too long before his final flight. Which he did at the end of last week.
With great ceremony and quite a few tears we gathered to say goodbye to Roly as soon as the chip shops closed. We watched him take his final meal and cheered when he consumed his regular sausage with one swallow.
When the time came to take to the air, Roly’s take off was difficult to say the least, but once he had reached his maximum attitude it was obvious that with a fair wind, he would eventually make it to his home port of Padstow (Cornwall).
Arriving at his destination and in the company of what remained of his near Padstownian family he would attempt to gain as much height as possible. He would glide a bit and then, when he was ready he would nose-dive into the sea below. A process he would remember from his days when his diet was fish. The difference here being that this would be his last dive and he wouldn’t resurface.
Sad yes, but a fitting, and traditional end to a full and happy life. Farewell old friend.
‘Look before you Dive’
Bit of an unpleasant incident today concerning one of the younger members of the flock (Elvis (I know) Swift Seagull). Forgetting one of the most basic rules of his training (my training) the young fool dived in to take what he thought was a sausage from a young Human and ended up with a piece of what I believe they call ‘Letgo’, lodged firmly in his throat. Thankfully his Mother was around and spotted his dilemma. With some ferocious pecking at his heavily feathered and very stupid throat she managed to dislodge the ‘Letgo’ before it caused him harm (killed him).
Elvis I’m afraid, had forgotten something that is drilled into seagull’s heads from an early age, ‘Look before you dive’.
We tell them on a regular basis, ‘Always, with no exceptions scope out the area before you go in for the feed.’ Humans are crafty so and so’s and have been known to prepare traps etc. In this case it wasn’t a trap but a gross mistake by a cocky youngster who put greed before caution, which I’m afraid to say is a common problem and failing amongst the gull community
The worst example I have seen of this was when I was working the Human’s refuse pits. A great and much missed friend of mine forgot the important rule and ended up swallowing a battery whole. He digested the whole lot and suffered a horrible death. I shall never forget it. Marked me for life.
So, kids, remember, ‘Look before you Dive’
All species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.