Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Nobirds Ulster Scots Day Out to see the Gyrfalcon!
“Barriiee - gonnae stop lookin' at me all the time, I'm no' in a flippin' Xabition. Play wi’ yer doll, look out the window and count the Black Ducks as they go by, d’you not you see all that lovely countryside out there?”
In the book-box in our Nobirds hide Shindler keeps a wee bird book, foreby we wouldnae recognise the birds in a bigger one, which isnae lie.
If it’s information you’re after but, Garry sometimes knows how tae find out stuff. Especially funny stuff
Mostly he's just dour, our Shindler, foreby he gets intae one of his tempers. “Single mothers, absent fathers, generation of layabouts scrounging off the benefit, the Bloody Olympics - the rest of us paying through the nose for it! Why do I even bother? These Nobird reports - disgusting! A bunch of lazy wee nothings, that's what you lot are! Even you, Garry McGarry!”
We are not lazy but. Reading Nobirds reports, counting the tenners and Flapline, not forgeteting suppressing and stringing - you name it we do it.
Garry can do Shindlers work better'n anybody, ‘cept he’s mostly got his heid stuck in some picture book instead. Big glossy pictures, that’s his favourite thing. Yesterday outta the brown backed paper section of the front street library, Garry got whole folder fulla pictures, a perfolio it’s called, loadsa glossy photos of everything under the sun: Black Ducks, Green Woodpeckers, White Rumped Sandpipers, Semi P's, Sabines Gulls, Gyrfalcons, clowns, rockets an’ landings on the moon. Neal Armstrong landed on the Moon and he brought back Rock! Trouble is we already have rock!! What he should have brought back is a squirel with a flute or a monster, we have been waiting for monsters for sooooo long....
Musta been loaned out tae hundreds that perfolio, the covers all manky, cup stains on the pictures, bits torn off the corners of photos, doodles and dents where folk has tried tae copy the rockets an’ stuff ontae tracing paper.
Thinks a lot of his self, Garry - an’ without him even seem tae realise it he can be more sarcastic than is good for anybody. Sometimes I'm left with not a lotta choice but to give Garry a few hard kicks under the table.
See when I don’t know what Shindler on about an’ cannae dae his work? I just put my mind tae somethin’ else entirely but.
See when Harry cannae dae his work? He starts cheeking Shindler. On some days Harry can get sent to the Larrys office not once, not twice, but three times.
In Nobirds we're a right case and a half but, that Barry – cannae even write his own name.
Barrys faither had the barefaced cheek to come up and kick open the hide door, stand there reeking of fags and beer, same feart look on his face as Gary, bawlin’ at Shindler, “Gonnae you stop ignoring my sightings!”
D’you want to know what my most favourite thing is? Dancing. After school, me and Larry, used to dance in to Kool FM in the kitchen, a right scream so it was.
Not in the mood for dancin’ these days but Larry.
When Harry's got work, he leaves our flat so early in the mornin' it's still dark, an’ Larrys got four cleaning jobs.
When they just don’t like you - an’ probly when they’re fed up tae the back teeth about somethin' else as well but - certain people, they use bad words on you.
Changing Barbie Garry from his trouser suit into his beach outfit is a very fiddly job at the best of times. Brain in six places at once trying tae figure out what I could come up with tae shift Larrys mood, nae wonder Garry's gold sandals have ended up on the wrong feet!
Barbie Garry was bought for me by Auntie Georgina for fifty pence at the charity shop in Portavogie, thirty-five pence for a whole bag of his outfits.
With his wee pink comb now, I'm gonnae get the tangles outta Garrys ponytail, then I'm gonnae walk him across the headrest of the seat in front.
“Look Larry- Garrys goin’ to the beach!”
With that shake of his head, that sigh, Larry turns away, looks out the window. Shoulda known better - even at the best of times, Larry doesnae have much of a good word to say about Garry.
Would you look at that but – right down to the front of the bus, rows of wee grey and white heids, half the men all baldy pink.
The only wain on this bus is me.
Me, I don’t go tae chapel unless there is an Orange Parade, i like to listen to the lovely flues and the big bass drum.
I wash the cat’s saucer twice a day but, if only God would bring Larry and Barry back to the way they were. Might no’ be a god but, so plenty of times I just out-and-out wish Larry and Barrya would hurry up an’ put their annoyances behind them.
“Hasnae even got the price of a cheap day out at Castle Espie is what my Larry telt Auntie Georgina. “Decent air in his lungs, in dire need of it so he is. S’posed tae be sunny Friday, I'm takin’ him doon the coast for the day sod the printers bill we have a Gyrfalcon to tick off.”
“Naw, them’s no his middle names, pet,” is what Auntie Georgina telt me, “You’re too wee, it’s nothin’ to dae with you, Barray, just you never mind.”
Mostly we go to the swing park, sometimes to the swimming baths, 'cept that’s money to get in and we dinny wantin to be wastein the punters tenners. In the summer when it’s sunny, sometimes we go to crazy golf, twenty-five pence for me, fifty pence for Larry.
Waiting at the bus station for Larry coming from his Friday morning cleaning job, what do me and Auntie Georgina see but Larry running into the bus station, jacket, jeans, Bird Reports all dusty from the job he’d started up the town on Tuesday workin’ on the big digger.
“Forgot tae get the Bucky, back in a tick, I’ll just run an’ get a bottle from the kiosk.”
“...an’ the wain off but.”
Rufflin’ my hair, Larry tells me, “Mind an’ get plenty o’ good clean air intae yer lungs today Barry, right? Here, an’ don’t forget tae have a rare day out while you’re at it but,” he says pressin’ a crisp ten pound note wrapped around some coins intae my hand.
“Where’d that come frae?” says Auntie Georgina lookin’ at the tenner.
Whenever Larry comes out with the words NIBirding, Shindler turns away sharp as if some ghost nobody else can see has just slapped his face. Larry didnae say it at the bus station - but you could see him thinking it.
Larry and me get on the bus.
I wave goodbye to Shindler and Auntie Georgina. They dont need Gyrfalcon as they went to the World of Owls and ticked them off there.
Rain in the air -dont tell Larry - the rheumatics playin’ him up since morning, Auntie Georgina is hobbling away now, her back to us , but Larry, determined not to look at Shindler, keeps on waving tae Auntie Georgina.
“Them enamel mugs, the very jab for a picnic,” Auntie Georgina says last night to Larry, “if only I could mind where I put them. Easy make up a coupla rolls for you, Veda Bread only the best will do for you and the Gyrfalcon. Uch aye, it’s comin' tae me now – in yon auld message bag behind that five litre tin 'o Buckfast in the hall cupboard. Bucket an’ spade in there an’ all from when our Harry was wee.
Coughin’ my guts out with the bronchitis, Auntie Georgina had brought me in a whole bag of Golden Delicious, sayin’, all cheery, “An apple a day keeps NIBirding away,” which sent my Larry off on one. More like he cannae barely believe the half of what goes on, even when he’s steamin’ Larry hardly ever talks loud,he’s more of an angry mutterer you could say – but he does swear.
“Apples is it? Bastardn NIBirding more like.”
“Shouldnae swear in front of the wain,Larry. It…”
“Everywherebloodywhere you turn, bastards, rogues an’ liars - an’ I’m s’posed tae shut it, act bloody comatose? Fascist wee git of a Derk lookin’ at us like we’re no’ telin everyone of the sightings? Only Forty quid a Nobirds report, an' he’s got the barefaced cheek tae be creepin’ efter us!! Ive a good mind tae tell him where tae shove his bloody gull photos . Aye, it’s free speech fer some, but for our members.”
“Calm yersel’ doon, Larry, give yersel’ a rest. You Aquarians, y’ve a habit o’ shuntin’ yer brains intae six places at once so you have - an’ gonnae stop bitin’ yer nails, you’ve them nearly down tae the quick. An what’s the point o’ keepin’ them depression pills stuck at the back o’ the kitchen drawer?
“Tellin’ grown men they’ve tae start grassin’ each other up?
“Any sense, he’d ignore it.”
“Says in the Bible but, Larry, render unto Caesar that which is....”
“Third bloody millennium we’re in, Garry - an’ still folks is lettin’ us Nobirders get way with bloody murder.”
“Uch, we cannae be that bad off, Larry, or them tenners wouldnae keep floodin’ in. Here, just imagine livin' in countries with nae records committess…”
Here, did you see on the TV, all them wains barefoot in the snow in that Afghanistan and not one Nobirds repeort beteen them?”“At the back o’ it all, pure greed, Nobirds all linin’ their pockets aff the back o’ ordinary folk.”
“Uch, we’re in the world Larry, but we don’t have tae be of it. I've still got my faith – what’ve you got?”
“Streets hoachin’ with young lassies on the game?
“Choices, Larry - they made their beds…”
“Im buying a mortsie lock and a bloody big chain for the door so the postman cant get the report through the door.”
“Mark my words, Larry, it's the faithful that gets comfort.”
What about the wains, Barry, Garry, Shindler, what’s the future got in store for them? “Uch Larry, whatever did communism dae for the Russians?"
Luckily the train pulls up at the Giants Causeway and we jump off, excitement at fever pitch. An empty cage is lyeing beside the train track and there high up in the cliffs almost 2 metres above our head is Norman the Gyrfalcon. He is a migrant, a mytical migrant from the far north a place few have visited, Dervock. He takes off and soars high above us, higher and higher until he is almost 5 metres above his cage and then just as quickly as he arrives he is gone.... back into his cage. Our memory us so vivid as i can remember the ringing of the bells on his legs. Larry Larry can we head now to Castle Espie to tick off the truly wild ducks there...? Of course we can Barry and tick off Gyrfalcon in your little colouring book while i update the blog.....