Sam Taylor is driven mad by a white-feathered mobster on her roof
When the town recently hosted the World Adventure Golf Masters (WMF), spectators were besieged by swooping herring gulls after their chips and candy floss. Born with unhinging jaws, these fearless birds are able to eat virtually anything – a fact confirmed by them gobbling up several balls. Play was stalled several times and eventually halted during the crucial sixth round after the scorecard was subjected to a dirty protest by one particularly nasty creature.
People have very mixed feelings about seagulls. Obviously those who have watched their pet dog attacked by a flock of them are less inclined to throw them some crumbs than a misguided tourist who thinks they are 'cute'. They are not cute. On my already crumbling roof, several breeding pairs have been returning for years and they see no reason to leave now that I am attempting to live there as well. Their squawking, the natural soundtrack of the seaside, reaches a crescendo at around 5am from which there really is no recovery for the rest of the day. If the wind is up, or if they are just feeling rather spiteful, they hang upside down from the guttering and peck violently on the remains of the windows. Hitchcock might have chosen black crows, but a sequel could easily feature these whitefeathered mobsters. Staring in at you through the glass, they are a frightening sight – they can swivel their eyes in their sockets. They can also drink salt water, a gift that makes them virtually indestructible.
I seem to have inherited one particularly belligerent old bird (they can live for up to 40 years) whose objection to the gentrification of the house grows by the day. Two carpenters have left after fearing death by pecking and the rear of the garden has become a no-go zone for anyone foolish enough to imagine a spot of relaxation. He particularly hates the sight of a deckchair. He has a charmed life with fast food on tap and a place on the RSPB 'red list' – affording him the highest possible protection. But he is wholly ungrateful. In fact, he is a spoilt brat. 'You'll be sleeping with the fishes soon,' I threatened at him one morning. He was still cackling hours later.
Next week: Are builders a different species?
Daily tip from the lady archive
“HEAVEN forbid that we should go back to the days when beauty was under suspicion and plain girls were assumed to have angelic natures.”The Lady. With Prejudice. 28th April 1938