Requiescap In Pace

dead bird

“Oh dear”, said the spouse as he made coffee at the Buteshack on Saturday, “there’s a dead bird over there beside the planter on the seafront.”

I rushed to the window to see if it was Pegleg. My favourite gull has been missing, presumed dead, for several months now, but it turned out that this wasn’t him.

“Looks like an oystercatcher”, I observed mournfully from behind the net curtain. The forlorn mound of inky black plumage on the verge next to the road had a distinctive flash of white, and I could just about make out a hint of vermilion leg against the green of the grass.

“Poor thing”, I said, “it’s a bit undignified lying there next to the bus stop… I’ll put it down at the low water mark once the tide’s gone out. It’ll be like a Viking funeral but without the flames. Or the longboat.”

“You’re on your own with that,” said the spouse, shuddering.

Later, once the tide had ebbed to reveal the familiar rocks dotted about the exposed sea bed, I approached the deceased bird with great solemnity and more than a little trepidation, since I had no idea how long it had been there. On getting close, however, all solemnity was lost when I realised that I had been planning a burial at sea for a discarded black baseball cap with a white emblem on the front.

Time to make that overdue optician’s appointment…

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