Reading my recent blog about the trout fishing weekend some 40 years ago, I think leads to the completely erroneous conclusion that all went well for me and all went badly for poor Colin. Time to confess – I too got my come-uppance that weekend and like Colin it came from the bird world in the form of a blue crane by the name of Pete.
Pete was very much in control of the farm and especially the farm house. He was a tall bird – easily my height which made him look huge at my age. He also has these beady untrustworthy eyes which seem to dart around looking for mischief. To top it all, Pete could also move at bloody lighting speed and sported a stiletto beak that was as sharp as a razor. The problem was he was fine with men but Pete, for some reason, absolutely loathed women. His gender bias which, given half a chance, ended in blood being spilt, was well known and even before we arrived at the lodge we all had been warned about Pete and were briefed about how to deal with him. All the cars drew up at the front door on that first evening. The men got out and called for Pete who appeared suddenly from out of the flower bed on elegant stick thin legs. The men called Pete around the back to the kitchen door with the promise of a tasty morsel and then yelled “All clear” where upon all the women dived out the cars and belted for the front door, slamming it behind us. This was the only means of safe passage if you were of the feminine variety.
Now my father and I had been given a guest house, separate from the main house and about 20 metres from the kitchen door. For some bizarre reason known only to the owner and builder, this guest house was designed sans lavatory or anything that resembled a bathroom. “Don’t worry,” said our host, “we will leave the kitchen door unlocked at night so you can make use of the facilities any time you need.”
Sure enough, I woke on that first morning at about 4.30 with a bladder full to bursting. I got up and was about to leave the sanctuary of the guest house when suddenly the full extent of my predicament became horribly apparent. It was still dark enough for no one to be around to act as a Pete decoy to allow me safe passage to the main house but it was already light enough for Pete to be up and about, on the prowl and ready to attack any unsuspecting female.
I peered out from the doorway of guest house. The flower beds looked quiet and undisturbed. The beds around the kitchen door looked pretty benign and by this stage my full bladder was making my eyes water. So I decided to make a dash for it on the basis that it was only 20m metres between me and a permanent urinary tract infection. I actually recall thinking I am not even in my teens, I don’t yet wear a bra so maybe Pete wont work out that I am female. Perhaps I can fool him.
I am about to turn 54 and even at this stage of my life, I find it difficult to describe what happened save to say that, to this day, I cannot look at a blue crane without beads of blood appearing on my forehead and me involuntary exercising my core muscles in a way that would make my personal trainer proud.