Boo! Sometimes it pays to expect the unexpected.
Jay Diamond – toy Colobus monkey come to life – certainly seems to think so. Especially when he arranges a practical joke.
His friend Kolly Wobble – toy octopus come to life – is a keen cyclist. Mycroft Sharper – toy snowman come to life – has involved himself in the life-cycle of pheasants. Jay thought the two pieces of information could come together at some suitable place. So he set Mycroft to work doing some 'collecting' and some 'involvement'.
Extremely early on Sunday morning, Jay put his plan into action – Kolly had inadvertently told him where she intended to go for a spin that day and Jay was not going to let such an opportunity go to waste. Especially given the weather.
The sky is clear and the last remaining stars are beginning to fade. The crescent moon is also beginning to dim and is stepping aside to welcome a rich blue horizon which lightens by the moment. Along the banks of the Orwell vast flocks of geese and wading birds sense the tide turning and begin to stretch wings and call to one another in anticipation of light and food. The colours of the horizon melt from light blue into orange.
Just outside the hamlet-cum-villages of Erwarton and Harkstead, as the sun edges into view and is reflected on the calm surface of The Stour, Kolly begins to round a bend by a small wood. Some high-frequency noise on her converted tandem must alert the birds within the half-bare trees, because she hears a pheasant call out an alarm and it is answered by at least three others. She turns the corner, completely oblivious as to what is about to happen.
In the field to her left five cock pheasants take to the air, crossing the road to head for the safety of the wood. Their movement encourages half-a-dozen hen birds to join them. Kolly has only ever seen so many pheasants in such proximity once before and the sight inexplicably makes her laugh.
Kolly Wobble has a powerful laugh. It is a joy-to-be-alive noise – apparently wonderful to hear.
Today, her merriment causes at least twenty other hen pheasants to climb into the sky calling an alarm to one another.
She has to stop – a tentacle to her open-mouth – to watch them.
Which is when Jay takes a photo of her.
The Little Animals of the wood tell him it is good joke and fall to mocking the birds for their fear, even though it had all been pre-arranged. (Cock pheasants rarely have anything to say or do which makes sense this time of year, anyhow.) But Little Animals are like that – they even joke about being Gone, because life is short and the birds which patrol the air are not always as scatter-brained as pheasants and there is not always someone like Mycroft to get 'involved'.
Try not to do the stupid things stupid people do.