Friday, 26 March 2010

26th March - melancholy mood; joy and coincidence

Spending time this week thinking about the anniversary of my son's birth. It is always an emotional time of year. I am reminded that I have brought by son up and that another year of our lives has passed.  It is naturally a time for introspection mixed with nostalgia and a glimpse back over the passing years.

Today my path was marked by meeting a 38 year old parrot.  A beautiful green parrot in a tatty old cage.  I asked the owner if the parrot was okay (he looked bored) - no, I was wrong, he was just being thoughtful.  I said Hello; the parrot replied 'Hello'; I loved the parrot instantly. I was rewarded with my joy by watching the bird hang upside down by one ageing talon and the guy behind the counter coming out and spending some time explaining the life story of the bird.

The parrot had a new cage; he didn't like it; he refused to eat and so they had to give him his old cage back; hence the tatty appearance only a 38 year old parrot cage can have.  This particular parrot will only let his owner go near him - anyone else risks losing a finger.  This is since his owner nursed him as a young parrot and fed him anti-biotics 1- 1,000th part water.  They had no idea how to measure that so they guessed and gave him a tiny drop, wondering if it was going to kill him.  The owner got up in the middle of the night to feed him spoonfuls of honey, because he wasn't eating his seed and the bird grew into a strong, healthy young parrot.  As the parrot grew in strength the pet shop owner started taking him travelling, 'Dill' - the parrot loves to go in the car and the faster you go, the more he likes it!  I guess he screams faster, faster.. or something.

The pet shop owner used to sit him on top of his cage at Walthamstow market in London, 'and you know how busy that gets?' he said to me; one day he was fighting his way through the crowds in Walthamstow and the parrot flew off the cage, through the crowd and landed on his shoulder.  Of all the people in the crowd, the old man could not believe the parrot found him.

When Dill was a baby parrot and very sick, the old man used to rub his cheek and say 'poor Dill' and now when Dill has to go back in his cage he rubs the old mans cheek with his beak and says 'poor Dill'.

For some bizarre (and yet, very sweet) reason the old man decided I should have some of Dill's feathers; he had them saved behind the counter stuck in a notice board and he let me have them, proud to show me the brilliant red and yellow and blue that is hidden under the brilliant green of Dill's top feathers.

Dill is walking along his perch now, he has got bored hanging upside down by one claw; Dill also starred in Treasure Island and played the part of Flint at the Palace Theatre in Westcliff.  I take Dill's picture and tell the old man I am going to share Dill with everyone I know.  I say 'Bye Dill' to the parrot; he ignores me;  I laugh.  The parrot laughs...ha ha ha and says 'Bye';  we all laugh again, oh, my, gosh, the parrot has a sense of humour.

I have enjoyed 10 minutes out of a busy day with a pet shop owner; I love the colour green; feathers are one of my favourite symbols of spirit and my coincidence with Dill (and I am pretty sure it is the same parrot)..
31 years ago when there was a huge, glamorous, 3 storied Department Store to rival Harrods in Southend called Keddies, they used to host a Gala evening; as a 13 year old girl I remember being swept through the crowds, past Leo .. not Leo Sayer, the other celebrity that tap danced a lot...and into a throng of people standing around a parrot; the quiz was to guess the age of the parrot and I guessed he was about 7. I filled the form in and thought no more of it - until my Mum showed me the Magnum of Champagne that had been delivered just in time for Christmas!  Well, the parrot was 7, it was 31 years ago and now I have met Dill who is 38..

 (oh, and I was born in Walthamstow and I am sure my mum used to drag me to the market - which would make this the 3rd time my path has crossed with a green parrot who likes a laugh!)

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