"I sauntered out on to the veranda to have a look at the lunch table, which had been put out in the shade of the vine. In the centre of what had been a very attractive floral centre-piece perched the Magenpies, reeling gently from side to side. Cold with dismay I surveyed the tables. the cutlery was flung about in a haphazard manner, a layer of butter had been spread over the side plates, and buttery footprints wandered to and fro across the cloth. Pepper and salt had been used to considerable effect to decorate the smeared remains of a bowl of chutney. The water jug had been emptied over everything to give it that final, inimitable Magenpie touch.
There was something decidedly queer about the culprits, I decided. Instead of flying away as quickly as possible they remained squatting among the tattered flowers, swaying rhythmically, their eyes bright, uttering tiny chucks of satisfaction to each other. Having gazed at me with rapt attention for a moment, one of them walked very unsteadily across the table, a flower in his beak, lost his balance on the edge of the cloth, and fell heavily to the ground, The other one gave a hoarse chuckle of amusement , put his head under his wing and went to sleep. I was mystefied by this unusual behaviour. Then I noticed a smashed bottle of beer on the flagstones. It became obvious that the Magenpies had indulged in a party of their own."
Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals.
vintage photo from Christel Weixelman , found by A Desert Fete
Wednesday, February 10, 2010