Posted: 10/26/2008


      Well, I was minding my own business this afternoon waiting for the 67 bus when I felt what seemed to be a big fist strike the back of my head, and a mother nearby screamed and her son shouted. What saved me from injury was the hat that I had purchased in Halifax city market 3 days ago. I big white and grey pigeon had slammed into me then bounced off into the gutter.

      The little boy chased it but it passed away in front of our eyes-what a way to go. I have heard of birds slamming into aircraft, but this was a first(or second) for me. I thought about pigeon pie and road kill, but as they say, pigeons are 'rats with wings'.

      Some years ago I learned to ski by driving up to the Cairngorm Mountains in the North of Scotland in my little grey Austin mini van. I spent the night at the youth hostel in Perth and the next morning the warden asked me into his office where two policemen asked me questions, since my vehicle matched the description of one used in a bank robbery. A mistake, all clear, and I went on my way for a week's skiing course which cost about $16.00 including accommodation in bunk beds, 3 meals daily, instruction and ski rental.  The lead instructor was called Ron, his chief assistant was called Ron-Ron, so all week I was called Ron-Ron-Ron!!

     On the way home I took the high road, as the song goes, over the heather pastures of the Scottish/England borderlands. Before I could brake i this remote area, a family of grouse crossed the road and I struck the mother grouse, while the little ones scattered into the heather. I stopped to see if I could render first-aid, but mom crawled to the roadside and dropped dead. So, I put it in the passenger seat, took it home and then to my Geordie friend's house, whose wife plucked the feathers and made us all a grouse dinner-my first and last 'road kill' meal. DELICIOUS

     A few years later I was flying first class on a Pan-Am 747 from London Heathrow to New York's JFK Airport. I did a lot of business with my favourite airline of all time(and am probably one of the reasons that they went bust). They gave me free first class tickets to such places as Sydney, Auckland, Fiji, Honolulu, Tahiti, Pango-Pango, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Montevideo, Caracas, Istanbul, Rome, Oslo, Belgrade, Frankfurt......       

     On this particular flight we were served champagne, caviar, little things to nibble on, until about an hour into the flight I was called to climb upstairs to the first class lounge which had 4 tables each with four place settings and each diner was introduced to each other. There were pop stars, diamond traders, financiers and me, who owned his own bicycle.   They had just caught the first grouse of the season, flown them down from Aberdeen Airport and I was served anything but road kill, with all the trimmings, the appropriate wines and a meal and conversation that lasted a good three hours.

    What a change from nowadays where I am usually on a $1.00 Ryan Air short haul flight where all checked luggage has to be paid for, as does food, drinks- and definitely no canapes, champagne, caviar or grouse.