Right outside my flat are many big trees, and these are filled with birds. Not very interesting ones. Grey pigeons (I have often wondered what they would taste like; I would love to cook pigeon) and grey loeries. I think they are loeries. Just plain grey ones. Their sound is a throaty, internal squawk – somewhere between that of a chicken and a peacock.
Sometimes in the morning, on a weekend or other public holiday, when everything is still quiet even though the sun is up already, the loeries hop onto the stoep and start eating my herbs. This is very irritating. It besmirches, somehow, the perfect golden-morning-pre-traffic weekend-time when one can just get back into bed with coffee and the laptop, and wallow in the light falling into the room from the balcony.
I have learnt to lob the camphor cream at them rather than the cuticle oil, as the latter tends to make it through the security gate and may well one day go right over the balcony onto the head of some innocent ground-floor tenant having a glorious morning-pee on his little patch of ground-floor garden. (A fantasy – I don’t think the deaf old man from downstairs actually does that.) The camphor cream hits the gate, but makes a helluva noise and scares them away.
It is an exercise in futility, of course, as I am sometimes not here on the weekend, and then they can nibble at my rocket at will. I have not managed to grow an edible cocktail tomato since I have sprouted my seeds, as the loeries get the green fruit long before they start to get a bit of colour. I might have to give up on the tomatoes, and use the pot for a head of lettuce instead.