There is an enormous tree in the garden opposite our house in our leafy corner of Thame.
The tree doesn’t bother me and I don’t bother the tree.
We just go quietly about our business. I sweep up its leaves. It threatens to blow over in gales and smash my roof to pieces. That sort of thing.
But in that tree is a pigeon. And that pigeon is an evil monster.
He sits patiently through the day, waits for me to come home, then with enormous relish does its business on my bonnet.
‘Coo’, he says. ‘Poo’ I say. That pigeon is ruining my life and my black car is usually to be seen cruising the mean streets of Lea Park with white splodges, like a jersey cow on wheels.
At least twice a week I come out of my house in the morning and my day is already ruined, while he sits smugly on a high branch admiring his Pollock-like handiwork. Too lazy to clean the car every week myself, and never able to find a cub scout these days, I have resorted to taking it to the supermarket near where I work, where a small, hardy gang of Eastern European men lurk with their microfibres to the fore.
They do a grand job and I have negotiated a better price as a frequent user.
Last week I visited with my friend Dan the Man. As I exited the car I smiled at the washerman, pointed at my car and we went in to buy our lunch. Me and Dan. Not the washerman. That would be silly, I don’t know the washerman that well.
When we came back the car was perfect and the pigeon’s work was erased.
I paid my £5 and off we went. Dan was clearly impressed that I was a man of stature with my personal valet.
The next day we went back to the supermarket for another sandwich. I nodded at the washerman and walked past, with Dan just behind me.
Because he was behind me I didn’t see him nod and point at my car.
So when we came back out my already perfectly clean car had been washed even more immaculate clean. Dan laughed until I thought he would save the pigeon having to ruin the paperwork, as I handed over a fiver. The swine.
But Dan was not finished yet. Two days later (we left it a day before he could be trusted not to break into uncontrollable laughter) we returned at lunch time for another sandwich.
I watched Dan like a hawk, especially when he bent to tie his lace. I was ready to stop his evil game and stick his head in a bucket for him. But this time, instead of pointing at my car he did something even odder. He pointed at the car next to it then walked away.
I am starting to think Dan is part pigeon.