Odd Bird &tc.

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APRIL 3, 2019

On the first weekend after Halloween I went into London to try an odd audio walking tour around St Pauls Cathedral (called “A Hollow Body”). Because it was mostly in the financial district of the city of London on a Saturday, there was almost nobody else around, other than the occasional police patrol car.

The Tour would occasionally give different instructions to me and my partner, to make an artistic statement about pursuit or isolation or somesuch.

Just at the point where the walking tour instructed me and my partner to split up, I noticed a ball of brown feathers on the pavement. She went ahead, as instructed, and I waited a few feet away from what I could now see was a dead bird.

The audio tour told me to wait longer, and despite the tour being five years old, it was as if it was giving me time to look at the bird. It had a short brown body and a long pointed beak.

The clean bloodlessness of the ground under it made me think it might have been dropped or thrown by a posh city-banker after a game-shooting trip, That didn’t stand up to much scrutiny as the whole city was a ghost town on a Sunday. I also wondered if it had flown into one of the tall glass skyscrapers during Autumn migration, but its head was half snapped off and its throat was open.

Because the audio tour required a very outdated app to run, and couldn’t be interrupted for fear of desynchronising with the other listeners I couldn’t take a picture of this. It felt like a very contrived way of preventing me from proving that this had happened at all.

Later in the day, apropos of nothing, I suddenly realised it was a Eurasian Woodcock, although I don’t know where I learned that.

I have never seen a woodcock before, and If I was ever going to I would have thought it would be on a rural heath, rather than on the clean flagstones under the Ludgate building.

We had to abandon the tour once we reached the old wall of London as changes to the road layout meant the directions we were getting no longer made sense.

That evening we went to The Old Operating Theatre at St Thomas’ Street for a lighthearted seance, and the next day we completed the adoption of a jet black cat who we had visited at a shelter on Halloween itself. On the way back from the shelter we passed two car wrecks that would have happened less than twenty minutes after we passed those spots on our outward journey.

Submitted by Ambassador Khoops