Oscar and Lucinda


When I wake up in the morning , I don’t always know if they’re there. Sometimes there has been a great honking cackling racket which, being mostly asleep, I have managed to ignore: perhaps a sheep or other naïve creature has dared to stray into their vicinity. Other times, silence: but that means nothing, and I have to creep out of bed and twitch the curtain open very gently to avoid arousing their stern vigilance. After all, it’s nice to get a cup of tea and even go to the loo before you have to put a raincoat and wellies over your pyjamas and go out to feed a couple of stray domestic geese that don’t even belong to you………….too late! Their finely tuned curtain twitching radar has detected my awakeandupness and the whole world explodes into geese-driven cacophony! 

They waddle after me at high speed, and by the time I am opening the living room curtains there are two beaks staring at me through another window. Beaks, beaks, beaks! Beaks that will move from side to side to synchronise with my movements through the room. Beaks accusing, beaks demanding, hungry beaks, greedy beaks, beaks hopeful, beaks expectant…….beaks rampant!

So, on go the wellies and raincoat; and if you’re wondering why I bother to do this when it’s not even raining, it’s so that you lot passing in your cars to the ferry (where do you all go to all the time?) don’t get to realise I am only just up (What? You knew anyway?)

And are they grateful? Not a bit of it! Oscar, the white one, will actually honk aggressively at me as if to say, don’t you dare come and steal this seed which you are, er, giving me…….In fact, though, they are harmless. Lucinda is timid and if she gets a  fright, say from a passing car, she will panic and waddle frantically or even fly off in the direction of the sea with Oscar honking in the rear, husband-like, Come back, you silly goose, there’s nothing to be scared of! But he is devoted, and will follow and end up wherever she ends up, to soothe her ruffledness and restore her to calm.

So, they are not so bad really, and if it was just that one morning feed I wouldn’t complain so much. But it is never enough! Half and hour later and all the seed hoovered up by that vacuum cleaner attachment that is a beak, and they are still there and wanting more!  And at lunchtime, afternoon tea time, tea time….. Only the coming of darkness saves me. They have got through the 10 kilogram box I bought them, now being supplemented by seed bought from David in the shop, and it’s March and they really should be gone by now!

If you are wondering how they got their names, Oscar and Lucinda is the title of a novel by the Australian writer Peter Carey. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it highly. It’s not about geese.

So next time you are hurrying to the ferry and they get in your way, can I just say thank you for slowing down and not running them over. And yes, you can blame me.

Jennifer Allan

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