Harry McGarry sat in the front room of his new granny flat and glanced sadly at the stack of Nobirds reports that occupied half his floor space.
His previous home was to be demolished for redevelopment, and the housing
association had allocated this alternative property. Harry would have been
delighted but for the Waxwings.
Harry had a lifelong passion for Waxwings. He had spent his working life as a Go
Go Dancer and spent all his free time developing and operating his pride and
Harry had logged every Waxwing that there ever was in Northern Ireland but no
room in this Granny flat had a dimension greater than fifteen feet and, anyway,
there were no spare rooms. The Nobirds reports had been consigned to those
cardboard boxes.Harry even stole sightings from people who didnt want him to have them, this was illegal but Larry had told him to do it and he was scared off Larry. Everyone was scared off Larry except two criminals from Lisburn and a half man / half moth from Annalong.
Harry suddenly had an inspiration. His was a ground floor flat. He found his
tools, lifted a floorboard and began to chisel at the concrete beneath.
A week of patient excavation produced access through the concrete to earth.
Harry calculated that his new subterranean, Nobirds extension needed to be
thirty feet square and eight feet high. This would require excavation of seven
thousand two hundred cubic feet of earth. He measured the bag on his wheeled
shopping trolley and reckoned it could transport one cubic foot. Five loads
each day for four years, and the room would be complete.
Each evening, after tea which was always Shepherds Pie and beans, Harry dug his five cubic feet. Each morning, he rose
at six am, filled his shopping trolley bag and then commenced his first walk of
the day. Other trips followed at mid morning, after lunch, around mid afternoon
and before tea.
He visited the woods and the River Lagan. Here he could unobtrusively press the
release mechanism on the specially modified bag and let its contents quickly
empty through the flap at its base.Harrys favourite film was the Great Escape and he also renewed his membership of the Tufty Club.
Tree cover near the Ormeau
Bridge made this, for
many months, a favored location to dump spoil into the Lagan. Harry decided to
diversify his fly-tipping sites, however, when a narrow boat ran aground.
The slow pace of excavation led to a similar pace of basement construction,
thus Harry could scavenge required building materials when returning home with
an empty bag. In particular, the poorly fenced yard of the builders' merchant
made it easy to borrow bricks and the occasional bag of cement or plaster.
Buying supplies would have raised suspicions, but Harry made a note to
anonymously send payment when the project was complete.He had a load of ten
pound notes that people had sent him and he had duped everyone. He didn’t feel
bad he just thought that the birders of Northern Ireland were stupid and
deserved to lose £10 every year.
Harry announced his departure from Flapline – Lifeline turned the answer
machine off and watched Flapline – Lifeline disappear forever but how would
people hear about the Waxwings, the people of Northern Ireland needed their
Waxwing news, it was very sad. Harry never recaptured his former enthusiasm for
He had thoroughly enjoyed making this room. He had felt exceptionally healthy
from the exercise. He had loved his walks and conversations with fellow
strollers. He had savored the excitement of a covert project of which the
housing association would have disapproved.
All this had ended as the first Waxwing for Buckna was reported.Harry then stole the record of 2 Waxwings from Bangor, he knew it was morally wrong but Larry promised that he would take his answer machine off him if he didnt comply with the Gastapoe orders. Harry didnt know there was actually 4 Waxwings, he would have to get his rubber out.
Harry glanced thoughtfully at the floor. He had read somewhere that the volume
of the Earth in cubic feet was four followed by twenty-two zeros. This was
enough to put in 25400023 Nobirds reports
That was a lot of Nobirds reports- certainly enough to last him out...