Watching and Waiting/ the French Fear

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Watching and saluting

There’s something about the front bedroom on our second floor, known for good reason as the bedroom with the head in a bag. I have noticed that people are inevitably drawn to throw open the right-hand window and shutter when they go in there, even though this room is every bit as derelict as the rest of the house.  Actually, I realise as I write this, it’s probably because there is no electricity in there and so no light. Aha! Now it all makes sense …

Except the head, which wasn’t a head at all in the end, but was and is still in a paper bag

Despite the impressive three-storey leak indoor water feature over our stairway we keep the house as secure and weatherproof as possible. So, when a friend texted me in December that this window was left open and the curtain was billowing – the builders had been in to measure up – another friend kindly went to the rescue and closed it for me

In the loft there are the signs and smells of a vast previous pigeon infestation. When I originally viewed the house I only saw one pigeon up there, but there were eggs too, and so I assumed the worst. I love birds but we could not co-habit. Yet when I returned in August the same eggs were still there and there was something resembling a very dead bird, sort of squished on the floor. The problem was thereby unintentionally solved, and we remain to date a pigeon-free zone

When the builder came to meet me he predictably threw open the window and shutter in question (again), and the sound of pigeons was immediately audible. There were three, lined up on the window ledge directly opposite and peering intently at us, just waiting for someone to make a mistake and provide access to their well-appointed former abode

Some days later as I waited outside for my lift to the airport, I looked up and three of them were again lurking and watching from the loft windowsill, in a pigeon two-fingered salute

There is a fear called ‘Anatidaephobia’, described by M. Google as ‘a pervasive, irrational fear that one is being watched by a duck’ . Disappointingly I now understand that this is an invented condition, though C still claims she has it. It is completely separate from ‘Ornithophobia’, a fear of birds in general, which no-one in our household – not even Mlle C – suffers from (it would make chicken-keeping a challenge)

There is no shortage of pigeons or of semi-derelict properties, particularly in France. Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel there must be a recognised fear of pigeons waiting for you to screw up and leave a window open so that they can get back into your house

 

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Author: poshbirdy

Art deco/ art nouveau maniac enjoying a deep and meaningful relationship with alcohol

13 thoughts on “Watching and Waiting/ the French Fear”

  1. I’ve never understood the fear and loathing people have of pigeons. My husband hates them, although we are both bird lovers in general. He calls them flying rats. I think because in so many French towns they overrun balconies and monuments and filthy everything up. We are lucky where we live by Lac Léman to be able to watch the ‘buses’ (hawks) circle overhead and enjoy the songbirds birds twittering in the trees. Sans pigeons! 😉

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    1. I like pigeons well enough, but the stench in the attic pervades the entire house when I go up there and so I get frustrated when other people leave the windows open when I’m not there. I had to laugh when one of my neighbours actually accused me of feeding them because someone had dropped bread in the street. Back in the UK we tried to save a young pigeon last year and it broke my heart when he didn’t make it. If he had survived I would have happily fed him every day

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  2. Perhaps it’s because you are in the centre of a village – you are aren’t you? We don’t have a pigeon problem but, despite having six cats, we share our home with edible dormice (http://www.arkive.org/edible-dormouse/glis-glis/) which look adorable but make a racket especially in breeding season and whilst storing their walnuts in preparation for hibernation. They apparently also eat through your beams. We once had a baby one – eyes not yet open- who fell down our chimney and we reluctantly kept him in a huge cage as a pet rather than put him outside at the mercy of the moggies but he eventually escaped when some people were looking after him while we were on holiday which I was relieved about really.

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    1. Ooh, the dormice sound wonderful. I could definitely put up with them. It’s strange how some scientist once labelled those poor little creatures as ‘edible’ when I imagine many things are!

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  3. The pigeons will get over it. The grumpy glarey martin family that camped out on our abandoned window ledge for four years prior to our purchase got over it. Head in a bag? pass….
    I also promise you, with absolute certainty, that there is nothing spooky or sinister in your house you need worry about

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  4. I had a terrible phobia of birds and pigeons in particular. It made me leave Monte Carlo earlier than intended (too many street pigeons). I finally got over it (the national dish of Egypt is pigeon) but your blog is making me wonder what nightmares I will have tonight. Eek!

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  5. I am absolutely petrified of pigeons. I had aversion therapy some years ago and I can sort of cope but it does not actually allay the fear so I am now squirming at the thought of these winged demons watching and waiting to get in …… aaaaaaaaggggghhhh!

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