At the moment my town is host to a rollerblading Grandad and a kamikaze magpie. While my run ins with the speed demon that is the rollerskating GangGan have been few and far between, (apart from regularly dodging him as he races towards us and once agreeing that yes Finn's hair is really rather wonderful and yes I expect he is going to have all the ladies after him soon), my collisions with the magpie have, sadly, become far to frequent for my liking.
There are, I believe, two trains of thoughts when it comes to dealing with lone magpies (As opposed to the happy dance one should perform in the presence of more...) . One can either greet said bird with the kind of greeting one would usually reserve for a long lost friend (Why Good Morning Mr Magpie, how the hell are ya?) or, and this, I confess is my preferred method, one can bestow upon its blessed little black and white head, all manner of curses like the one a passing gypsy was kind enough to rant at me when I refused to buy the tin foil wrapped bit of heather she was trying to force upon me. Complete with spittle and demented stare.
But clearly should you take the Damn you to hell and back route with this particular magpie, he will wreak revenge in the form of a sudden swoop upon your head, nesting in the fuzz of your hair like a happy sparrow, or, lucky me, he will peck your bare toes with vicious glee. And trust me a peck from a mean magpie on frozen Flip-flopped November toes is pain equivalent to childbirth and the curse it brings should not be underestimated: because sadly it has turned my son into a dog called Scrappy. A beagle with floppy ears prone to crawling around on his hands and knees in Marks and Spencers and asking to be tied up outside shops. A puppy who wants his milk to be taken from a saucer on the fake Aubusson. A child no longer willing to take instructions because dogs "don't understand Mummy Language, please try Woof!".
Now this is difficult enough to deal with when you are dragging said dog around Tesco, but on the kind of Saturday Morning when there is a mild hangover raging between your earlobes, a stupidly large phone bill and a kitchen full of last nights feast, negotiating the whims of a puppy child do not a happy Alison make. So into the kitchen I stomped, shoving a gravy stained tin into the dishwasher, and knocking back a cocktail of paracetamol and coffee to the strains of dog yelping as Scrappy falls off the sofa and sits licking his wounds. I go back in to discuss the need for a visit to the vets, become extremely miffed with the answer (Woof woof, I'm Ok, woof woof, can I have dog biscuits for breakfast?) and pad back into the kitchen where to my utter joy I find myself standing in grapefruit scented froth because the gravy stained tin was, the night before, soaked in washing up liquid...
So I do what I can, I throw a towel over seeping bubbles and turn around to deal with the mess that is the kitchen bin. The dog crawls in utterly naked and is surprised to find himself with wet knees and laughs in crazy doggy fashion when I pull the bin liner out of the bin and watch in horror as the bag splits and a chicken carcass goes floating down the kitchen on a sea of grey bubbles, at which point the electricity runs out, the house is plunged into semi darkness and Mark, who is already assured of my total incompetence, lets himself in and gapes open-mouthed at a scene of such rank ugliness he is struck dumb.
To which I reply, I've been cursed by a magpie. Whats your excuse?