I’m not big on collective nouns; I’ve never heard anyone, in normal conversation, refer to a fluther of jellyfish, a puddling of mallards or a bloat of hippopotamuses. They always feel a bit forced and “aren’t I clever?”, basic trivia night fodder. But one that always seems entirely appropriate and completely unforced is “a murder of crows”.
The Wife took Jambo up the night-soil lane on his walk the other morning. At the end, near Bates Street, there’s a mandarin tree and every year at this time it attracts flocks of sulphur-crested cockatoos. They tear off the unripened fruit (perfect size for a talon) and reel around the fence, squawking and giggling like Year 9 boys who’ve broken into the school tuckshop.
But, reported The Wife, a little further along was another group of birds. The crows.
This guy, all on his own, does not look very menacing. But recently Jambo and I have had a 20-strong mob of them circling and cawing and swooping around above our heads. It’s deeply unnerving. Murder feels possible, almost inevitable.
There was murder, this morning. One less sulphur-crested to mangle the mandarins. (And there goes Old Mate, off down the creek for his morning constitutional.)
Which allows me to link, rather unconvincingly, to my own constitutionals. I was pleased to see that H-Foot is still getting out and about. This sign belongs to a water tank that appeared in the gasworks weeks ago. It hasn’t moved but is gradually being plucked at, bent, tweaked and generally knocked about by the Night Walkers. Maybe H-Foot is transforming his/her-self into a pedestrianised Judge Dredd. That’d be something to see.
We were going to go out for a constitutional, me and old H-Foot, but it never came off. I don’t really mind; if it’s meant to happen then, one day, it will.
You out there, H-Foot?