Just when I thought I’d reached an all-time parenting low, I realise I have only just achieved bronze badge status. Here is my story of the day I took my five-year-old to the local Bird Park – only to discover that I am actually terrified of birds.
It was the first week of the school holidays and I had taken time off work. After a particularly disastrous previous school holiday, the stakes were high. I had a lot to prove. So, on day two, as the sun began to peep through the clouds and before I could change my mind I hurried my son into the car and we set off to the local Bird Park. Equipped with a homemade packed lunch two shop-bought sarnies and a multipack of hula hoops we set off, wondering aloud how many feathered friends we would encounter and what a ‘lark’ it would be.
*At this point I should probably add a disclaimer. I’m a bit of a wimp. Despite being almost forty years of age, I am unable to watch any film carrying a classification of 15 or above. I am terrified of any fairground ghost train and I get a bit edgy when a butterfly flies within a metre of my head. So, with hindsight, a Bird Park was probably a bit “hard-core” for me.*
So, back to the story. The first shock was the price of admission. However, undeterred, and doing my most cheerful ‘oh I’m not a scrooge’ impression, I also shelled out for two paper bags full of bird food.
Rookie Bird Park Error no.1. It transpired that those pellets stuffed casually in my pocket transformed us into sitting ducks (pardon the pun). We were about to enter a volatile and cut-throat, feathered world.
On entering the Bird Park I clocked a goose waddling menacingly towards us. I could tell by its eyes that he was in for the kill. As it takes a big bite into my son’s jeans we manage to dash behind a gate and secure ourselves in a small compound. There was only chicken wire separating us from the demon goose. We were now trapped and this goose thing is marching left and right, waiting to pounce. Here he is. Just look at those eyes.
In my best ‘A Team’ voice, I deliver the plan: that I would set a decoy by hurling as many bird pellets to the right of the gate whilst my son makes a run towards the left. Pellets fired, I shout ‘GO, GO, GO’ to my small partner-in-crime as we leg it to the safety of the ‘picnic area’.
Picnic in the Park
In the picnic area, we cautiously open our sandwiches but can sense every beak in the park angling towards our hula hoops. I think it was at this point that the realisation hit me: I AM SCARED OF BIRDS! But it’s hardly cool mum behaviour in front of a five-year-old. So, as an aggressive tiger-sized turkey ambles towards us, I attempt to brave it out whilst deploying my son as a human shield. We back away from the turkey, maintaining eye contact at all times.
Sandwiches abandoned, I decide that we should go in search of the miniature donkeys. However, they must have been really miniature as they were nowhere to be seen (I’m guessing they were cowering in a shed somewhere, being held to ransom by an evil poultry gang). We see some goats and I instruct my son to stand next to it. You can see them checking each other out here. This is where I realise that my son is also a nervous wreck.
And having conquered the entire bird park circuit in record time we spot the Exit sign. Breathing a sigh of relief I realise I’ve not taken many photos to prove to everyone that we did something fun in the school holidays (!) so we stand in front of this big ironwork stag for a snap. Only to see two menacing feathered things darting in our direction. Here’s my son seeing them out of the corner of his eye. Note the gazebo thing behind.
The black and white birds hold us prisoner in that gazebo for 20 minutes. Here we are attempting a plea bargain behind the trelliswork, whilst dreaming of sitting at home, eating from a jar of Nutella with a spoon.
We both tried to put a brave face on it, but even eating our over-priced chocolate brownies in the café couldn’t heal the mental torture we had just endured. Neither of us has talked about that day since. What happened in the Bird Park, stays in the Bird Park. Apart from sharing the whole sorry episode with you all, of course!
So, to my feathered friends foe. Keep your flapping wings and your serrated beaks. You stick to your Bird Parks, and we’ll stick to the human ones. I’m not frightened of you. I’m totally, utterly, absolutely petrified of you all (apparently it’s called ornithophobia).
It was a fowl experience (sorry, couldn’t resist) and all future fun days will be bird (and butterfly) free zones.
I wonder if there’s a local cotton-wool world?!
Breakfast Club Wimp x