The saga of the feeding of the five thousand continues. OK, that's a slight exaggeration -- there aren't quite five thousand animals on my sister's property.
I put new batteries in my light so I can find my way around the property after dark, but this is a mixed blessing at times. Coming back from feeding the horse last night, I didn't notice that one of the geese had wandered into the driveway. Only at the last minute did I realise that it was cornered between me and the gates.
We gaped at each other for a moment when the beam fell on him, then he drew himself up and spread his wings. I knew that he was going to take off and I stooped down and put my hand up over my face.
There was a thrumming of wings and the goose flapped over me with only a couple of inches to spare. I could almost swear that I felt one of his webbed feet tap me on my shoulder as he passed over me.
I straightened up in time to see the goose land and hurry off down the driveway, honking to himself indignantly as he vanished into the night.
Memo to self: watch out for large waterfowl of a nervous disposition.
Meanwhile at my house Zelda the goose continues her dedicated but vain project to hatch those two (infertile) eggs. I'm wondering how long this will go on.
A couple of months ago I commented on how much weight she had put on. I didn't realise this was nature in action. Since then she's been more or less living on her body fat. A couple of times a day I manage to coax her off the nest for a few mouthfuls of food and a drink of water, then she toddles back and settles down again.
On the net I saw an advertisement from a firm that makes fences to keep geese out of your waterways. "Researchers have discovered that geese require easy access to food and a drink of water every 30 minutes," says the caption.
Ha! Not all geese at all times.
(Mind you, the rest of the advertisement is a little worrying -- "Did you know a goose produces 1200 pounds of droppings every year? If your lawn has become a gathering place for geese, here's your answer. Goose D-Fence is a new solution to help rid your property of unwanted guests...")
And with Julie away I can suit myself around the house. Last night I left the television set switched off all night while I listened to a couple of radio programmes from the BBC Radio website.
It was most enjoyable. I heard Eric Sykes reminiscing about his career on his 80th birthday, then while I was browsing the bulletin boards I spotted a comment that reminded me I hadn't heard last week's Radio 4 Saturday Play The Franchise Affair, a 90-minute play based on the novel by Josephine Tey.
I just had time to listen to all of it before I switched on the radio to catch the late show with Tony Delroy on ABC.
Digital television? Who needs it.
SHORT FICTION SHELF:
This month is the centenary of the birth of Fredric Dannay, one half of the team who wrote as "Ellery Queen". Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine has been celebrating the year with a series of special issues.
The October issue features a new story, headlined on the cover as "Ellery Queen is back in a story by Edward D. Hoch." And who better to pick up the EQ pen than Hoch, who has the distinction of appearing in every issue of the magazine in living memory.
The story in question, "The Wrightsville Carnival", returns Ellery to the small town where so many of his mysteries were unravelled. However, this is no period piece -- the editor of the local paper has a digital camera, and the vital clue in solving the crime involves the way the killer uses his mobile phone!
This issue also carries an article surveying the history of EQ parodies and pastiches (yes, there is a difference). There haven't actually been a large number of EQ pastiches, so this one is a nice novelty.
Unlike, for instance, the Great Detective of 221B Baker Street. I realised some years ago that there were more Sherlock Holmes stories in print that hadn't been written by Conan Doyle than ones that had been.
I notice a recent reference on the Blogs4God website to "naval gazing." This would I guess be similar to train-spotting; you get yourself a good seat overlooking the waterfront and note down the numbers of every warship that goes past. The winner is the one who spots the most naval vessels without getting picked up by the security police.
What? Oh, navel gazing! Why didn't you say so in the first place....
Remember these words of Leo Rosten: The purpose of life is not to be happy - but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.
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