Before life took it’s turn for the worst and I faithfully followed it down to the bottom of a bottle, my work took me out of town into a small village, the offices I worked from were in a converted barn, which also doubled as my Boss’s home.
I don’t drive, not that I’ve lost my license due to many insane drunk driving incidents, no actually I have just never learnt to drive, never held a provisional driving license or sat behind the wheel of car. There are enough maniacs on the road without me joining the Road Rage brigade.
So each morning I would walk into town, catch a bus to the village and then walk to the Barns. My first job each morning was not to put the kettle on, far from it, I had loads to do before that!
The Barns were surrounded by about 16/17 acres of land, which my Boss kept a number of animals on. These included two donkeys, five geese, two Guinea Fowl and two dogs, plus a number of wild rabbits, foxes and even a visiting peacock from time to time.
So my first job each morning was to tend the animals, so dressed as smartly as I could in my shoes, trousers and shirt, I climbed over the fence from the garden area into the paddock, firstly to feed the donkeys and ensure they had fresh hay for bedding, next feed the birds, the geese and the guinea fowl. I also had to ensure the donkeys and birds had plenty of water.
The geese had an old bath which was kept filled with water, but the geese weren’t particularly house proud and would get in the bath and well, do their business (OK, I am being overly polite here, I didn’t really want to use the word crap), so you can image the water after a few days wasn’t very clean.
I often had to reach down into the slimy geese poo water and take the plug out of the bath, then refill it. What a great start to the day, now I had to sit at my desk all day smelling of goose dung, nice!
The Guinea Fowl started out a mating pair, the male was extremely protective and for a bird of his size, he was bloody aggressive. When I walked across the garden each morning he would just run into my legs, attack my shins. Why? I haven’t got a clue, I was the idiot that fed him, why attack me? I had to kick the bloody little git off all the time, but he always came back for more, day after day after day, eventually I never let him get too close, I would just kick out anyway, I think that wound him up even more, he still kept coming.
If you have seen my post Fireworks, Well Homemade Ones!, then you will know about the damage done to my left eye and how lucky I was to still have sight in it. Well, I am surprised this left eye hasn’t abandoned me, just given up after the neglect I’ve shown it, fireworks, punches, kicks, etc and then to top it all a flying Guinea Fowl!
The mail usually never turned up at the barn until after lunch, the post box was just outside the main gates on a brick pillar, next to the pillar was gate into the paddock where the donkeys and geese were kept. On this one day I went out to collect the mail and that bloody, stupid, crazy Guinea Fowl was perched on top of the gate, I pointed a finger at the bloody thing, I told him to stay there, don’t do anything stupid!
So as I opened the mail box and took out the mail, the lunatic bird flew straight at my head, it hit me, yes you’ve guess it right above my left eye, I could feel the scratches and blood starting to build up in a small scratch above my eye brow, I was furious, the bird did a runner before I could at get it, I was ready to make Sunday dinner out of it.
When I got back into the office I went to inspect the damage, there were scratches around my poor left eye, where the bird’s claws had dug in, but the most interesting scratch went from my top eye lid to the bottom one.
Once again I must have blinked or just closed my eyes as the damn bird hit me, it had scratched right across my eye, once again I was lucky, I dread to think what that bird’s sharp claw would have done if it had got beyond my eyelid and actually scratched my eye.
The stupid bird eventually disappeared, it’s partner was killed by a fox and some months later, I think he was taken by a fox too, he was never seen again and no I didn’t have any involvement, if I was involved he would have been on a plate and I would have enjoyed every bite!
The Original Angry Bird
He really was the original angry bird, I’ve heard of little man syndrome before, but this thing actually had little bird syndrome!
I was struggling to find a song to actually go with this post, there aren’t many songs about getting beat up by a Guinea Fowl, especially Christian ones, so I’ve gone with this, Fire with Fire by The Letter Black, because if I ever see it again I am gonna fight fire with fire and let the little git have it!
“We’re fighting fire with fire
The flames are burning burning
Higher and higher
It always has to be an eye for an eye
Justice remains the one and only desire
Fighting fire with fire”
(Fire With Fire by The Letter Black)
Sophie & James, The Donkeys
I have further tales of my time tending animals, just one of my many diverse job descriptions, especially storied of my time with the donkeys James and Sophie, but they are for another post.