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Living with a seagull

Posted by Simon Parke, 16 May 2017, 9.57am

Peter, our house seagull, is increasing the pressure.

He’s outside my window, looking at me now.

He sits on the wood pile and stares at me until I move.

He attends to his whiter than white feathers with his curved yellow beak and allows a blue tit to mess around in the ivy nearby.

But mainly Peter stares.

When I do move, in search of coffee, he jumps off the wood pile and runs along outside the house as I pass through the living room through to the kitchen.

I see his parallel journey as I walk.

By the time I arrive in the kitchen, he’s there, standing on the step of the patio door, with the unspoken question in the air:

‘What took you so long?’

He likes carbs, dairy products, loves yogurt… but can’t be doing with baked beans or those Linda McCartney sausages.

Offer those and you get his ‘What the fuck?!’ eyes.

Once I’m in the kitchen, he expects action.

If I do not immediately attend to his needs, he knocks at the glass with his beak to remind me about the priorities here.

And seagulls can knock very loud. I often think it’s someone at the front door.

But then this isn’t a social call.

Peter has offspring up on our roof and they won’t feed themselves.

It’s the only time of year when he doesn’t think entirely of himself, when his own survival is sublimated for the survival of others.

He has the kids to think of, sure.

But he’s even kind to his wife, allowing her first dibs on the food.

Like that happens for the rest of the year!

He doesn’t drink, but he can still be a bully…

Peter and Mrs Peter have been together a number of years. Seagulls are like this.

They take a relationship break over the winter, of course they do. This spares them a difficult Christmas.

Peter’s behaviour becomes increasingly abusive through the summer, particularly in competition for food.

Mrs Peter probably needs to getaway, count to ten, lie on a beach, reassess.

But they’re back together early spring, all gilly-gully again.

And the thing is, he can be kind, he has it in him. It reminds her of when they first met.

And perhaps this is what brings her back every year, the hope that one day she’ll save him or change him, just another fool in love.

I look up from the computer.

Peter is still staring at me and the message is clear:

‘Whatever you’re writing, it’s crap. No, really. Everyone thinks its crap. Now get to the kitchen…please.’


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