Over the last ten years or so, we have had an ever-growing population of exotic parakeets. It is said they escaped during filming of the African Queen here in 1951. They hang out in our local park and can be seen squawking in the treetops or flying around in search of food. They often visit my neighbour's garden to peck at wild cherries on their tree or snatch a nut or two from the bird-feeder. There is a down-side to all this in that a lot of familiar species like sparrows and blackbirds seem to have disappeared from our gardens, where once they were in flocks, but it is lovely to see the colourful parakeets in the heart of the big city. In warm weather, you can almost imagine you are somewhere exotic. They, for their part, don't seem to mind the cold and snow in the winter!
When Greg was quite ill towards the end, he used to sit in the kitchen/diner (bottom level right - see my previous post) and watch the wild-life as it came to our garden. It was the only distraction he really had, apart from the television or looking into the bottom of his whisky glass. He always used to sit on the same dining chair from morning till night - sometimes all through the night. It was HIS chair - close to the television, close to the garden, so that he could go out for a cigarette. Kay and I have not felt like sitting in that chair since he has gone. There is not a day that has gone past when I don't come into the kitchen and half expect him to be still sitting in that chair. I sometimes pat it when I walk past and ask him why he became an alcoholic and why he left us.
About a week after Greg died, I came down one morning to the kitchen and lying on Greg's chair was a green parakeet feather. It had not been there the night before and we had not even had one in the house anywhere. I tried to rationalise that maybe the cat somehow had brought it in, but she has never even brought in so much as a mouse or dead bird before, let alone a feather and why leave it on that chair? Furthermore, I have NEVER seen a green feather lying about outside for as long as the parakeets have been here. The cat would surely be unable to wrestle killing such a large bird and if so, where was the rest of the bird? I am not a believer in the paranormal, so I tried to dismiss it with logic, but it did spook me a little. I kept the feather - it is rather pretty - and put it on a shelf in the kitchen.Then, after the funeral, Kay and I took my mother home at Easter. When Kay and I got back home again, the feather was back on the chair. Now, I don't know about you, but I have absolutely no explanation for that.