Legends from our own lunchtimes

Thursday, May 15, 2008


We had a budgie once, a blue one.

Poor Alex, named after a block of flats in which we almost bought our first apartment, didn't really live the life of luxury and love that one reads about in some accounts of pets and their owners.

It's not that she was badly done by, she travelled often, was fed well and her cage was cleaned regularly, she shared a lot of our adventures, but somehow she just never fitted in.

One of our most enduring memories of pet ownership came one Friday evening when we were driving down what was known as the goat track between Tamborine and Canungra. In those days the goat track really was, and we were in our Bongo Van, not noted for having a comfortable ride on smooth highway, but on a rough dirt descent it was easy to see how the Bongo got its name.

It was getting a "bit" uncomfortable for those travelling in the front seats firmly fastened by seat belts, and there was an awful lot of banging and clanging of stuff in the back, even though it was well secured, and mostly in the lockers under our mattress. Clearly audible amid the din, the ringing of the budgie bell and the clanging of the door of the cage which was secured between the ceiling of the van and the front seats, began to arouse our attention.

We looked over our shoulders, and there was Alex, full of Vita Budgie, with triceps pumped, straddling the gap between flailing swing and cage, trying valiantly to hold the swing still enough to resume her spot.

Sadly, as is inevitable, although after too few years of journeying with us, Alex eventually succumbed.

She passed peacefully, (we think) after a reasonably mid-length life.

My beloved, not wishing to touch her frail little corpse, decided to let me do the honours.

Being the observant type, even though I had apparently been informed, which I deny of course, I failed to notice a distinct lack of activity from within the cage, let alone the fact that the former resident of the budgie cage had taken to sleeping on its floor.

It was a day or maybe even two later, when we had a surprise visit from a dear Aunt, who it has to be said was one of those budgie fanciers one reads about, used to lavishing love and luxury on her hand reared bird, chatting incessantly to it perched somewhere on her person, and so it was with barely a nod to us on this fateful day, that she found herself cooing by the cage of the sleeping Alex.

The emotional scars caused by that moment have deeply impacted on my dearest, and since that day, any new pets, rare though they may have been in our household, have been viewed at best with a suspicious tolerance and issued with a quiet but terribly stern warning, to the effect that they are welcome stay for a bit, as long as they don't drop off their perch while we aren't looking.

"Or else!: .....


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