Magpie Jack

I hate seagulls you know. Every day at work I watch them pecking at the bins and swooping low over tourists on the waterfront.

The greedy little sh&ts. They’ve taken to dive-bombing families having picnics on the grass during the summer months, and I’ll tell you what, the amount of seagull crap I clean off my car on a weekly basis, is getting out of hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I love birds. I regularly watched the swifts and swallows, flying out in unison, over the river, and back to their nests in the brush on the banks. Amazing little things they are. They don’t half get up to some speed. They’re excitable and fun to be around, mind, they tire me out in no time.

There’s at a couple of Herons nesting on the nearby lake, I’ve noticed. Majestic wingspan and when they’re stood still, waiting for the right moment to dart their long necks into the water to catch fish, it’s an incredible sight. I’m yet to get too close.

The city streets are littered with pigeons. Most people see them as a pest, but they’re alright. Sort of salt of the earth, never had it easy, type of bird. If you likened them to humans, they’d be cabbies or bin men or cleaners. They graft and get little acknowledgment or thanks.

It’s the magpies you’ve got to watch. Thieving little gets. Anything shiny, they’ll have it. Always got a shifty look about them and if you’re anything but black and white, you’re highly unlikely to get in with that crowd. May as well be clad in all that North Face gear the youngsters are all wearing. Not saying they’re all robbers like, they just look similar.

Since I learned to fly, I’ve only really made friends with a few pigeons. I suspect word has gotten out because the seagulls seem to have laid off sh£tting all over my car recently. You can never tell if they’re giving you side-eye, because they’re always shifty looking. But yeah, I think the news has ruffled a few feathers.

Funny story. It turns out that when I drink milk, I can actually fly. I don’t really know the ins and outs of it. The first time it happened, I was stood on the back patio admiring the lavender and early evening birdsong with a cup of warm milk in the hand.

I took a sip and before I knew it, I was floating outside the bathroom window. I dropped the cup and floated, slowly back down, my slippered feet safely on the patio flags with he smashed mug.

I loved that mug, it said ‘Best Grandad’ on it.

Like most, I thought I’d had a funny turn, so I cleaned up the bits and took myself to bed. It wasn’t until the following evening that the realization hit me. I was going about my usual routine. I made a warm mug of milk, shoved my feet into my slippers, and stepped out onto the patio to listen to the birds.

Laughing to myself, I took a sip, closed my eyes and breathed deeply. Surrounded by birdsong, blue tits, house sparrows, and wood pigeons – singing their merry tunes, I opened my eyes and came nose to nose with the roof guttering.

This time I held on to the mug, albeit a rubbish ASDA one, and drank more. I floated forward towards the fir trees in the back garden. Another sip and I rose to the chimney stack. One more and I aimed for the patio and a soft landing.

I rushed inside and pulled the milk out of the fridge. I checked the carton over, checked the date, the lid. I must have been drugged, I told myself. This isn’t really happening.

I made another mug of milk, this time cold. Nothing happened. I just downed half a pint of milk for nothing. The next one I nuced in the microwave and yep, there I went. I shot up so quickly, one of my slippers fell off.

Now, a man of my age has accepted that life moves at a slightly slower pace these days. So swooping and darting around my back garden late at night, wasn’t how I expected to spend my evenings. But low and behold, with a cup of warm milk. I can bloody fly.

All of this happened just 6 weeks ago, so I’m just getting started. I’ve not told anyone because, frankly, I don’t want to be sectioned and have to see out my days in a secure unit of some kind. But, the birds know. They’ve seen me, and this changes everything.

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