OPINION: Feathered friends are staging a military coo on my own roof

Keith's life is all a flutter thanks to some problem pigeons

Keith's life is all a flutter thanks to some problem pigeons - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

I’ve just completed a cabinet reshuffle in my study.

Only time will tell if that heralds levelling up, dumbing, down or simply maintaining an untidy sideways nudge.. I did take the bold step of opening a brand new file called Matters Arousing after the latest Westminster ins and outs.

I have not slept much since noticing charmingly radical Michael Gove has been handed responsibility for planning and housing. That is a bit like inviting Jeremy Clarkson to take a measured look at traffic-calming and problems likely to results from excessive worship of the car.

Perhaps Mr Gove will work overtime to escape comparisons with Nicholas Ridley and his “reign of destructive terror” as head of the Department Supposed to be For the Environment in the late 1980s. He opened gates to countless unwanted developments across greener parts of the country and then had the cheek to stick that NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) tag on those who dared to object.

To add insult to injury, he is also credited as the government minister who pushed through the notorious Poll Tax.

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Another significant matter on my post-lockdown list of things to worry about concerns a gradual transformation into a suburban version of Dick Dastardly, that animated villain who, along with Muttley, his bad-tempered hound took to the skies in pursuit of feathered fiends.

I’m beginning to appreciate reasons behind such zany antics after several weeks of being roused from my slumbers by a dawn chorus best described as a chaotic cacophany on the roof just outside our bedroom window. A gang of feral pigeons seem determined to represent the darker side of nature after so many months of providing solace and support in and out of the Covid marathon.

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We’ve been plagued by pesky pigeons before but hardly with calling cards dipped in Such obvious delight in disturbing the peace. I may resort to an unlikely cunning plan in a bid to clear the air and protect our precious homely environment.

It involves an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion likely to be known as Eradication Reversal, a movement dedicated to bring back the coypu and train it to hunt down and scatter nuisance pigeons in the name of keeping the dawn chorus melodic at any time of year.

Ruffling a few feathers need not be confined to transient politicians plucked out of a reshuffle to prove just as much a lottery as the previous one.

Taking stock and making lists are the easy bits of getting things done . suspect too many of us. along with preaching politicians have found too much time to ponder and pontificate when urgent action was needed, especially during the past 19 months or so.

There’s an old Norfolk saying I may just have made up which runs: “If each before his doorstep swept, the village would be clean”. Put that on a global footing as leaders of varying quality jet across the globe to lecture everybody else on getting to grips with climate change.

There are precious few good examples to follow – and even a cursory glance around Norfolk betrays blatant ignorance of basic green principles required for any meaningful approach to looking after your own patch.

It hardly helps when invitations to “have your say” on proposals for thousands of new homes in a certain area are lost in a miserable mixture of apathy and cynicism.

The same applies to all local elections from parish council to a representative at Westminster.

My regular ambles in and around Cromer over several years have been marked by sudden loss of handsome trees, attractive hedges and many other environmental assets. Meanwhile. parking in residential streets, too much of it climbing onto pavements either side on rat-run routes. Some of the Chelsea tractors on parade are now big enough to warrant a “combine” label.

Perhaps those rowdy pigeons are rebelling against nasty alterations to their local flight path and seeking consolation in early morning impressions of a military coo on wide open tiles.

Apparently, I am not the only one in North Norfolk to find the feathered fraternity a bit troublesome.

An old friend in Sheringham with a penchant for top-flight technology has just sold his favourite homing pigeon Shifty Shannock on eBay for the 17th time.

Skip's Aside:
Despite the first rash of embarrassing adolescent acne, I was flattered to be dubbed Lesser Spotted Rustic Warbler by an old farm worker who used it regularly as I sped past on my bike, lifting his head from concentration on the good earth to shake it in disbelief at quivering impressions of Guy Mitchell, David Whitfield and Ronnie Ronalde.

I had a varied menu, song and tunes interspersed with cricket commentaries from John Arlott at Lord’s as Compton and Edrich put the Aussies to flight before lunch

Crowd noises crackled across the headlands as bats were raised in triumph and my clenched first saluted more England glory.

On a good morning I could manage the opening strains of Music While You Work Family Favourites and Paul Temple.. Never mind those boy bands chasing up and down the pop charts of today How about one lad on his own providing an all-round entertainment service as he pedalled down yesterday’s lanes.

On my village round of Saturday morning errands Ronnie Ronalde was the role model of the wireless accumulator age. His million-selling record If I Were a Blackbird inspired thousands like me to puff, purse and preen in hope of producing a clear, perfect blast designed to turn heads and worry cats.

Whistling went automatically with whittling, walking and riding a bike Some of my mates hissed through teeth or fingers until a crystal shaft of sound alerted the parish that another performer was licensed to shrill. I never mastered that art. Ronnie also demonstrated outstanding singing and yodelling talents on his Sunday wireless programme and only Donald Peers and Dick Barton came close to matching his adulation marks in our country household.

When I yodelled on mu wee to chop kindling, wash eggs tidy gardens and keep the copper up the corner boiling, worried residents were known to leave their kitchens hastily to express sincere hopes I had not injured myself too badly when I caught my foot in the chain. Neighbourhood Watch w as a much more intimate concern in those days.

A chance to brush up my falsetto efforts came with arrival of Irishmen net door. They brought wit them a wind-up gramophone and record Slim Whitman singing China Doll.

They played it countless times before going to work on the farm and just in case you missed the dawn chorus they wore out another needle after their evening refreshment breaks in the village pub.

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