Thursday, January 5, 2012

Parakeets and storm-thrashed seas

 We're stuck in England in this January storm. We were supposed to return to Ireland today on the Irish Ferries' Jonathan Swift, the fast ferry, but it was cancelled. The big cruise ship was due to sail, and we packed up the car last night ready to head off this morning to Anglesey. I bought Stugeron sea sickness pills. But the rain was lashing the window when I woke and the trees are bent double. We have the dogs with us, and the thought of the poor things stuck below in the car in a gale-ridden sea (not to mention ourselves surrounded by other peoples' vomit, and maybe even our own) was enough to change to tomorrow's sailing. And I see the 14.10 cruise ship is delayed. So good decision I think.

We were in London last week visiting friends and family. As we drove through the suburbs I saw a flock of birds fly over.
'Good grief,' I said to Joe. 'I could swear that was a flock of parrots.' Later, in Stanmore in North West London, after dinner and conversation til the wee hours the night before with friends from our university days, I was taking the air in the garden. There are woods behind the house with squirrels, jackdaws, jays and a bird with a very non-native call. It was a ring-neck parakeet. They're beautiful birds and they've colonised the city.

Three appeared as we ate breakfast. And apparently there are 30,000 of them across London. 30,000! In spite of their exotic I-live-in-the-tropics looks they can survive our winters very well as they come from the foot hills of the Himalayas. They'd probably thrive in the west of Ireland too, and what a smart patriotic green they wear.

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