While most suitors choose expensive earrings for birthday presents, some try to do something a little more special. On one of these occasions, my beau, having doubtless been made aware of my irrational disgust for birthdays, thought he would be clever and hide a pair of lovebirds in a room full of cut roses instead. The lucky fellow managed to avoid my wrath that birthday and years later I am still delighted with their company.
They are the prettiest, peachy-faced pair you ever did see, always whispering to one another and blushing, a triumphant example of true love in my own home. The joyous outcome of making love, though, requires more toil. A furrow is almost certainly developing on my female's brow. She has also really let herself go since she started having to rear the hatchlings; her feathers, usually immaculate, are ruffled and missing in places and she seems generally a little irritable. And the cock, now his lady is always in the nest, spends all his time with me. He has developed a penchant for baths at all times of the day, he sits on my head while I apply make up and re-arranges my hair. He has become the confidant in the romantic tragic-comedy of my life. I feel sorry for his wife as you can imagine and I worry about the little futures of their babies.
If only South East England needed more wild parrots. It might be fun to try something other than sabotage for a time, and every gamine should be known for her charitable works as well as her scandalous capers with poodles. However, impoverished local farmers insist they do not need little pastel-coloured parrots to improve their land's appeal. What am I to do with this bubbling brood of baby lovebirds? Their parents, shortly after having them, behave quite monstrously, and kick them out so they can carry on with their professional lovemaking. I do try and hide the Isaac Hayes records but whenever I come home from somewhere his deep voice is resounding from the top of the house. It seems too indiscreet to barge in and turn the music off. Lovely, though they are, they will need new homes before Gamine's love shack turns into a house of horror.
A chapel I know of in the Côte D'Azur, embraced by bougainvillea, is a refuge for a healthy flock of lovebirds. They fly and squawk in between this pious residence and the rather distasteful opulence of the Réserva Hotel opposite. Often I have wondered if this might be a healthier existence then the dusty, drafty, Georgian mansion my birds live in now. These birds are green with pink cheeks while mine are lemon yellow with peachy faces - do birds of a different-coloured feather still flock together? They might just make it back to Africa from there if it didn't work out, but oh, what a dilemma. I suppose the most sensible thing is to hope that the global warming we can depend upon will bring with it more exotic birds into our countryside so I don't have to feel like a complete malefactor releasing mine into it. In the meantime, Gamine will be awarding their fans, the deserving masses, with lovebirds for services in exceptional devotion and other outstanding achievements.
* If you have gained nothing from this piece then I hope at least it will inspire you to look through your old Richard Harris records to find "Fill The World With Love?" Then it will all have been worthwhile.