Sunday, 15 May 2011

Peacock Awareness

We're regulars at Harcourt Arboretum (part of the botanical gardens in Oxford).  This is Oxfordshire's own little garden of Eden.  Vibrant flowers arranged amongst lush trees in a place of tranquillity is more than we can resist.

But the best thing about the arboretum is the peacocks. They roam as and where they please, hide under bushes, lurk up the tress, and captivate us completely. We can't help following (AC calls it harassing) them.  Understandably they usually try to shake us off, but on our most recent visit we came across a beautiful fellow who seemed to take a liking to us. Maybe he fancied me. Possibly he was attracted to Beth's peacock impersonation. Maybe he liked Adams aroma. Whatever the reason we were enjoying it's company. The kids named him 'Catch It'.

AC warned me that although peacocks are beautiful,
they are still wildfowl like any other fat goose.

It was eventually time to move on. AC led the way. Missy and the A-Bomb sprinted after him. Shemily's sausage legs prevented her from keeping up and she was left behind. I reached out my hand to her as encouragement, and as I did so I noticed our new friend 'Catch It' launch an attack on the weakest member of the family. As quick and deadly as a bullet he sped towards the vulnerable Shemily. Thankfully my split second reflexes saved her. I barely made it to Shemily before 'Catch It' and managed to pull her out of the way, all be it by the neck, before his beak or claws made contact. Shocked and shaken up I made a hasty retreat to the rest of the family. AC's reaction: I warned you!

I echo AC's words of wisdom. Be warned that Peacocks are not the friendly genteel birds their outward appearance portrays. Rather they're killers that watch to catch any small unsuspecting victim off guard (This was also confirmed at a falconry display only the next day at Warwick Castle).

Shemily in close proximity to a very real threat.
Apparently warning us, not flirting with us.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Special Delivery

The clang of the letterbox that indicates post always causes a  flurry of activity in our house. Everyone rushes to be the first to the door and lay their hands on the coveted envelopes on the floor. Last week this same scene played out. AC almost fell down the stairs in his attempt to beat the A-Bomb to the front door. AC claimed anything 'fun' looking (i.e handwritten  letters, dental magazines, etc) and deposited the rest in my lap; a couple of bills, some junk mail, and an official looking letter with no outward clues to it's contents. Intriguing.

Maybe we've won something?
Or could it be another letter asking if we want our kids to take part in medical research?

In my eagerness I rip it open. It's from Thames Valley Police!
Maybe they want to inform about some new neighbourhood watch scheme?
Possibly bring my attention to the arson attempts in the local area?

Hold on a second - Notice of Intended Prosecution - A speeding Ticket!

My initial reaction was fear. Fear of AC's reaction when he finds out. I didn't tell him straight away. First I prepared the way.
'I need to talk to you about something' said I in serious tones.
'About what?'  he asks
'I've got some bad news' I reply with a face of anguish and swiftly make my way outside to busy myself with hanging up laundry on the line.

I leave him and allow his imagination some time to conjour up it's worst. When I eventually break the bad news I expect AC to be relieved that I hadn't poisoned the kids or something equally as bad. But AC looks angry.
'What does this mean?' he enquires
'Just 3 points on my licence and a £60 fine' I inform him
The shame I feel  for the offence is magnified by his disapproving looks.
Tutting aloud and shaking his head he makes me explain to 4 year old Missy:

Why Mummy had a letter from the police.
Why Mummy must pay money to the police.
The dangers of driving to quick.
Why law enforcement is important to the wellbeing of society.

AC's flippancy almost makes me flip out. But that might mean another lecture to Missy about Why Mummy should have more self control.