Goosey Goosey Gander

Today Jackson was 13 years of age. Jim and I sang him Happy Birthday.
He ‘herrumphed’ a thank you, a kind of breathy neigh. I called up B, she shouted out Happy Birthday – he barked his thanks. I called Zoe, who sung Happy Birthday down the line from Brighton, Jackson barked his approval. I called up my mother who, very excitedly, sung a jolly Happy Birthday accompanying herself on her organ in Hertfordshire, Jackson was thrilled and sung along. I called up Hanna who sung Happy Birthday with Giles, our continuing son-in-law, but by this time Jackson had had enough, he abjectly refused to respond. No amount of coaxing from me would make him talk – ewuff was ewuff.
So we walked up the hill very slowly, the old boy in command, when we arrived home I gave him a dog chew, the 91 year old flopped down on his bed and went to sleep.
The perfect day.

On our walk the ducks were laughing over the pond. They do actually sound like they have just been told the funniest joke in the world, when all they’re doing is warning each other that the old bird and the dog are approaching.
But did you know that ducks quack in dialect? They do because it was in the papers!
A Derby duck, for example, will have a different twang from a Dundee duck which will be utterly different from a duck from Devon. (Although don’t be fooled into thinking that ducks only come from places beginning with ‘D” remember your Gressingham…)
Our ducks are extremely well heeled here in the South East. I expect they’re quacking their disapproval as only disgusted ducks from Tunbridge Wells do.
But alongside the ducks we had lots of pigeons, pheasants and the most powerful display of pairing this side of Clarks shoe shop.
16 geese flying like the Red Arrows over a perfectly harrowed field.
8 paired with 8 in a perfect ‘V’ formation.
I always count them on account of knowing that they pair for life.
That gaggle of geese got me to thinking if there’s an odd number does it mean that one of them has died or flown off, in a huff, with a younger gander?
But it also dawned on me why Hilda Ogden had a trio of geese flying on her wall in Coronation Street, and why those three birds meant so much to people, although if they pair for life why didn’t the powers that be make it four?
But it dawned on me that those ubiquitous plaster of paris birds symbolised some kind of freedom, the kind of freedom that Hilda and my husbands family could only dream of.
As those 16 birds flew overhead, honking to each other, I could feel their elation. My husbands lot worked in the noisy woollen mills of Leeds, lip-reading and signing over the machines. They saved up for a weekend in Skeggy or a day out to Blackpool, the idea of them flying off in formation to anywhere was out of the question. Those geese went where no man could go up, up and away, well at the very least into the middle distance of Hildas ‘murial’.
The walk was good. Time to think. Mull over the radio programme. Work out a strategy. This is a time of transition.
I parked the car and thought it had started to rain but it was the sound of leaves falling.
It is AUTUMN with a capital ‘A’ this year. We’re knee deep in leaves and their smell is sweet and peppery.
Jim took photographs of the kitchen for a magazine who want to do an article on me. I tidied the shelves, removed my black sports bra which was lying on the kitchen table, and made a cafetier of coffee.
We used the cup and jug as props – the coffee weren’t half bad either.
Then it was my regular Monday night mooch. Corrie, University Challenge, Corrie again and now Russel Brand. I don’t care what people say I think he is sexy, naughty but most of all clever.
But then I always did like a bit of rrrrough….Oh! I think that’s Jackson calling….
& Cul8tr.

2 thoughts on “Goosey Goosey Gander”

  1. Phew it’s not just me then, I sing Happy Birthday to my Westie Ruby, but then I sing Happy Birthday to my car every time it does 1,000 miles….do I need help???
    Lots of love
    Marmite Girl xx

  2. Hi Jeni,
    And a happy birthday to Jackson…or in song..
    Hot Digady Dog (Perry Como), How much is that Doggy in the window (who knows), Old Shep(Elvis I think), You ain’t nothing but a Houndog(Elvis),Who let the Dogs out, (Michael Ducks?), Gonna buy me a Dog (The Monkees), I love my Dog (Cat Stevens), Salty Dog (Mississippi John Hurt), Mad Dogs and Englishmen (Noel Coward), Me and you and a Dog named Boo (Lobo), Blue (Peter Paul & Mary), Puppy Love (The Osmonds), Yellow Dog Blues (Bessie Smith), The Puppy Song (Harry Nilsson).
    Chrissie x x

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