THE PIGEON THAT CAME TO TEA
The sun was shining on the sea, shining with all his might .He did his very best to make the billows smooth and bright. And this was not at all odd as it was the middle of a hot sunny afternoon. My brother, myself and our skipper Mike Dodd Nobel were all aboard the good ship Nisaba ,20 miles out of Hugh Town bound for the southern tip of Ireland. Once again in accordance with the poem of Lewis Carol the sea was wet as wet could be, and presumably the sands were dry as dry, but on this occasion one bird was flying overhead one bird was in the sky: a little pigeon flew three times round our mast then fluttered down to rest on the immaculate new spray hood.
Whether or not it was Captain Bligh’s decision to give water to the bread fruit trees instead of his crew, that instigated the mutiny on the Bounty,is still being argued to this day. But one fact that cannot be disputed is that a mutiny of similar magnitude nearly took place aboard Nisaba the moment our little pigeon rested her claws on the creamy expanse Mike had paid 700 euros for 2 weeks earlier.
Possibly it was the sight of another of God’ s creatures going round and round in ever decreasing circles before collapsing in an ungainly heap that drew my brother and I to the conclusion that a kindred soul was amongst us. Together we put forward the case that Penny. (Penny Pigeon, now named) was in need of somewhere to rest her feathers, and as there was nowhere else in sight we were under an obligation to provide her with a suitable perch. Also the crew, having come to the conclusion that Penny was a female pigeon, allowed her to slot into the ‘’damsel in distress’’ bracket, thereby adding weight to her claim for temporary asylum. Captain Mike Dodd Nobel did not agree, feeling that Penny might relive herself at any moment or as he put it ‘’I don’t want that bloody bird shitting all over my boat’’.
I have always been under the impression that birds were inclined to defecate on the wing. Indeed have had this confirmed on numerous occasions when a flock of seagulls has been circulating overhead. I argued this point with all the ferocity and eloquence of a high court barrister in a murder trial, believing truth to be on his side. Unfortunately, however just as I was reaching the climax of my speech, Penny fluffed up her feathers and with a truculent smirk playing about her beak she deposited a large pile of pigeon poo onto the up until now spotless spray hood. Mike’s initial fury quickly gave way to the glee of having been proved right, helped by the fact that swift ablutions from a wad of kitchen role left no trace of Penny’s contribution. After close scrutiny, even Mike had to admit that not the slightest stain could we seen, allowing him to bask in the glory of having had the foresight to pay extra for a quality spray hood, as he claimed, for the sole purpose of making it available to any passing pigeon to pop in for a crap, when time hung heavy on it’s claws.
Penny regarded the once again spotless spray hood with the air of a child that has just thrown all it’s toys out of the pram, only to see them scooped up and whisked off by a strict and grim faced nanny. Penny stood on one leg and scratched her beak thoughtfully with her claw, before sauntering nonchalantly across to the other side. Then with a gesture that reminded me of a time when I had chanced to witness an attractive young girl, believing herself to be unobserved, hitching up her skirt in order to rearranging the tucked in part of a frilly silk blouse, and giving a little tweak to her knickers at the same time ,Penny pointed her beak at the heavens, fluffed up her feathers once again and let loose an enormous pile of guano. This time the crew acted swiftly. Mike’s vision was cunningly obscured by one half, whilst the other half administered the kitchen role with a swift and efficient flourish. Indeed it must be said, this was probably the one and only task the crew managed to perform as an organized team throughout the entire voyage.
Penny’s toiletries. now finished, she became peckish in the true sense of the word. Pacing back and forth, tapping her beak on the afore mentioned spray hood. Constantly glancing round she had the air of someone who, having placed her order, feels the waiter has taken way to long to return with the meal. Once again the crew leaped into action, a saucer of crunched bread and milk was placed in front of her. Penny tucked in heartily, before disappearing over the horizon.