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The Unwelcome Visitor
By Margaret Renwick


I had slept fitfully, disturbed by strange noises on the fringe of sleep, noises which ceased when I struggled upwards to consciousness to listen, noise which I heard out of the corner of my car. But it was daylight and all the fears of being murdered in my bed had flown with the dawn. Ahead was a new day, all fresh and not accounted for.

As I sat in the bathroom I realised I was not alone. I became aware of two unblinking beady eyes peering at me from the depths of a large fern on the top shelf of the bathroom unit. It was a young starling! So settled and comfortable I could almost see a nest underneath him in the plant pot.

This is the point where my beautiful day entered the realms of pure farce. With mind shattering clarity I knew the only way out for this bird was through the window before my cats drew lots as to which was having bird for breakfast. No doubt one of these friendly felines had brought the bird in through the cat flap the previous day. It had sensibly gone to ground on the only ground it could find and now awaited developments with interest.

First things first, I leapt up and shut the door. This caused the starling to hurtle himself from his perch and flutter frantically in all directions, my heart did exactly the same. I knew he would make directly for a warm dark place to hide. I must point out I was wearing a long nightgown and it didn't take a vast leap of imagination to put the two together.

The bird had settled back at base m the pot, breathless but still beady eyed and alert. Now for the window, it was locked, where was the key? Under his glittering gaze I moved slowly to avert any more kamikaze flights. It was only when I realised I was trying to unlock the window with the radiator bleeding key or the blankety blank radiator key as I now called it. I had to stop and think rationally. My feathered friend sensed my new mood and settled down in his plant to await further entertainment.

I located the correct key and neatly nipping my nightie between my knees I attempted to clamber on to the closed toilet scat to open the window with the key. The damp had caused it to rust, I needed something greasy. I had to use the resources to hand. Back to the bathroom cabinet for some moisturiser.

My feathered friend took flight once more as I approached him. He seemed to be losing his nerve as time passed. This time he left a present in the bath, I don't know if it was fear or criticism but I could understand both emotions. The moisturiser did the trick and at last the window swung open. Up in his fern he sat, motionless and blinked his beady eyes. I had done my best and went down to the kitchen for a massive infusion of caffeine. I banged the bathroom door as I left to give him the signal to go.

An hour later much rested and finding some humour in the past events I decided to close the bathroom window and lock it again, as I had to go out. I don't know what made me look around as I closed the window but what I saw stopped me dead.

Two pairs of unblinking beady eyes gazed back..!



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