Journey's End

A gull's mew wakes me
with a reminiscence of childhood
seaside excitement
in time to watch the sun begin it's arcing passage
over the misshapen boxes that history
in a time before set squares and plumb lines
had poured down the hillside
to a higgledy-piggledy halt
short of the still sleeping estuary

It is going to be a day you can fry an egg on.

The "what to do today," options
are served up with a hearty breakfast
of poached eggs
smoked mackerel
and sour dough whinging

"You should see the mess
those damn seagulls you like the mew of so much
can do to an under occupied
over priced
dream holiday home"
my host offers
turning the locally bought
though not caught
neatly off it's oily skin
downing it in one gulp

He scans the instructions
on the back of the Acme patented
'total effectiveness guaranteed'
Seagull Scarer
his pride and joy
since the postman's knock

"The better part of advancing middle age
he says without looking up
"on a day like this
avoid 'long walk' heroics
slap on the factor 50
and go for some up stream river chugging

"But above all wear a hat

"Those bastards will stop at nothing!"

The dreaming
within the just the right side of sixty
across the table
loved the holiday morning sound of seagulls too
in his rock pool hunting
sandcastle building
sunburnt on the beach
when property was just a word
on a primary school spelling test

But aspiration has reach fruition
and roosted itself
on a journey's end outcrop
of semi retirement

Now all that remains is to wage
a full-scale campaign of
grumpy old man attrition
and the feathered ones are in the firing line

So we chug up stream
passed captain Alright Jack
a Dog Eating Dog who has had his day
shooing seabirds off
his floating pile
that bobs in cocooned isolation

Captain Jack shares a knowing comrade's glance
across the sound
and we chug to a pint or two
with our names on

All the while
my host keeps a wary eye
plotting the aerial movements
planning the outflanking counter attack
until the pints bring him back
with their return journey challenge
to the serviceability of aging bladders

Then it is on to the Dolphin
bedecked with centuries of chalk white droppings
where we spill out on to the pavement
like a mewing colony
clinging to the last flush
of a misspent solstice
nodding heads
to the comic rhythm
of flowing pints
clutched in single use plastic
and clattering bills of Salty Sea Dogs
drinking brandy and lovage
the old smuggler's way
dropping useful hints

'Put up anti roosting spikes'
'avoid roof netting'
'my mate Jim
has a kamikaze cat
he's trying to rehome'

Then the landlord throws up
behind an expensive four wheel drive

The day is rounded off watching the Sun
complete mid summer's arc
behind the crooked town
while the host
wrestles his new toy
onto the hose extension
before testing the movement sensor
and drenching all his guests

A late evening gull
sailing over head
spies the opportunity
as the host falls asleep in his half baked Camembert
muttering defiant curses as he falls

It mews through the air
and leaves a statement of intent
fresh and runny
on the patio

by Guy Jones

All rights reserved.

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