Such a prescient, beautiful sentiment.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Away From The Madding Crowd Revisited.

A Happy Outcome To A Domestic Drama!

The deserved, though in my opinion muted, duffing of the Labour Front Bench, today, was a tempting subject for a post but I am bursting to share a small drama of my own, here in the Marches beautiful environs. A place, no doubt, soon to be raped by mass immigration and political greed but as yet, still wonderful.

On retiring to bed last evening I preceded Mrs OR, via dining and into sitting room, en route to stairs off the latter area. As I opened the adjoining door, twixt both rooms, I thought I heard a quite prominent and musical tone emanating from the said  area I was about to enter. I switched on the nearest light by the door and peered in, simultaneously stepping down the small adjoining step. I wasn't nervous but deeply curious, as my gaze took in the room before me, now lit softly by the small lamps I had activated.

Then the noise, or ringing sound was made apparent. A largish bird, my first thought a pigeon, was flapping against the fire guard in the hearth, placed closely against the grate and fire basket. I moved carefully towards the creatures entrapment anxious to add as little distress as possible and to determine a course of action. The room is newly decorated and brand new, cloth covered, pale sofas ensconced.

My first reaction of overwhelming compassion for the poor creature was tempered by the thought of a beautiful room, endowed with significant pieces of furniture and ornaments, smashed and trashed by this large bird, together with its panic stricken inevitable defecation! I might add the concern for the bird's welfare did remain a priority which, if managed carefully and gently, might also allow for minimal repercussions.

I peered at the dear thing closely and checked if its battle with the fireguard, a metal framed, heavyish mesh, which had been rung with the would be escapees frantic efforts, would remain as the inadvertent cage door just a little longer. At this point the poor victim settled in a worrying and prone manner, staring back, at once plaintively at my gaze but also with a mild curiousity. At this moment of mutual inspection I realised it was a tawny owl!  

Beautiful and frightened but my voice did seem to calm it. I retreated my steps to rope in Mrs OR, a woman of such calmness, clarity of thought and who would undoubtedly have loving concern for our unexpected guest. It remained still and my fear for its welfare grew. However we decided on a plan. Mrs OR gathered sheets to cover the new furniture and we made as safe as possible heirlooms and other objects that might prove vulnerable to a manic and excited owl, in full, magnificent and massive wing span, aerobatics.

The next stage of the plan was to open the door to the porch that leads to the outside and off the corner of this room, thus a route to freedom for this fabulous and handsome creature. I had decided then, with a low level torch brightness, to ease the guard towards myself and give the owl a wide and easy passage to negotiate and then, hopefully, make a beeline for the exit. Possibly with Mrs OR and myself acting as "owlherds", if that were to be possible. 

All was ready. I, speaking soft and complimentary words of admiration, once more approached this raptor, mindful of its wild and natural capabilities to render small mammals, or possibly eye sockets of larger kinds, no longer of use in this world! Still it watched me but with eyes more tightly squinting and remaining in its prone and still position. Its talons gripped the edge of the fire grate and its fur covered ankles looked delicate and cute in the glow of the small lamp.

Slowly I drew back the fireguard, the unwitting door to its cell, expecting a flurry of beauty, wings and mayhem, as it would, in my expectation, take to its feet and or wings. Nothing. It lay in a pitiful repose, its body moved only by its heavy breathing and discomfiture. A traumatised, seemingly beaten and now possibly mortally injured creature of God's paradise on earth. 

How our hearts sank that we might be at the end of this magnificent bird's accidental mortality. I whispered we should leave and hope it might make its way to the beckoning, open door. The cold but fresh clean air being drawn, as we had hoped, enticingly, to lead the owl to freedom. We crept quietly out of the room and closed the inner door behind us.

Several minutes or so later we returned. Once more quietly, ensuring we listened for sounds of movement  within and that we might do as little as possible to not startle the owl more than necessary, if it were still our most welcome but impractical guest. All was quiet. Using the lamp I approached the hearth but was quickly able to ascertain that this schoolmaster of our childhood, an unearnt wisdom, I believe, was still cowering or injured in the grate of its mishap tumble down the chimney.

Now what? I got Mrs OR to stand watch over the situation whilst I donned a pair of gloves and gathered a soft, large towel from the utility room beyond. From avid wildlife programme watching, it was my considered opinion that I might carefully gather up my raptor of the night, in said towel, smothering its wings to its body and that this would then enable me to make good its escape, with significant assistance from myself!

We moved the guard well clear of the fireplace and I gingerly knelt towards the bird with the towel outspread and acting partly as a shield, from my face and body. It still didn't move but just about managed to watch me. I gathered it into the cloth and ever so carefully lifted it from its seemingly trapped situation. 

As I rose and turned into the dimly lit room, it moved quite strongly and released its left wing from my grasp. However, despite my very light and tender, I hope, grip on its body and right wing, it made a light flap and shake of its stunningly beautiful port flutter mechanism, out of the towel. A movement which gave me a flutter of optimism that mild trauma was the problem, not life threatening injury. 

We, the dear creature gently restrained in my two hands and a caring, worried Mrs OR, tip toed through the entrance door, the porch and onto the driveway. Just a few yards to my right lay the edge of the orchard garden, across from the tarmacadam surface of the drive. Curving away and down to the right the drive adjoined a small area of wildlife dedicated, woodland. 

I crossed, still carefully and slowly, the drive, with the now security light floodlit, outstretched, upper left wing fully visible, as was the back of the creature's lovely head. I was once again feeling much trepidation as to this stillness, of what I regarded as a powerful bird of prey. One nestling in my hands more like "a captive bird" of Roberta Flack's lovely song. Still, I consoled myself that my manhandling, gentle as it was, appeared not to be adding to any injury or trauma for the bird.

I could feel Mrs OR's hand was to her mouth as she watched me kneel with my precious cargo. I placed it on the ground, still facing away from me. For but a second or two it paused, then lifted effortlessly into the air and made a low level whoosh of powerful but silent wing beat, away into the trees and wild garden. Mission accomplished! We are now proud owners of an owl towel!

Some might argue it was a bad moment for the mice and voles but I don't dwell on those elements, too much, since such is life and nature! Sure as hell beats the crap out of political matters!


  1. Marvellous OR - and well played.

    I sometimes wonder if nature is made beautiful by its innocence.

    Made my evening.

  2. What a very pleasurable read. Thanks

  3. Hoots, Wol, 'oo woz dose nice h'oomans? Woo hoo!

    Poignant story, this, O-R. Far easier than reading about politicians. You've captured the essence of something special here, and have done so really nicely.

    Thank you.

  4. Dear Mr Bismark-reader, I shall maybe show my gratitude for your kind words with a toast ere we meet again!

  5. Splendid work Mr Rightie, it's not easy dealing with a raptor.

    Earlier this year one of my neighbours was told that someone had seen a wren carrying insects into her garden shed and believed there was a nest there. The neighbour's reaction was to open her shed door and rummage around in the hope of expelling unwanted intruders (fortunately the nest was not in the shed). I have never seen such disgraceful behaviour in my life and was truly shocked that anyone would treat native birds in that way.

    It's so refreshing to read that admiration of and respect for beautiful native birds is alive and well in the Old Rightie household.