a cautionary tail

Sometimes renovations have unintended consequences.

So it was with Albert  J. Peacock.

Albert arrived just as the tradies were finishing the bathroom.

The builder’s parting words were: “You want to get rid of that peacock. They’re a menace.”

Albert had other ideas. Having lumbered in from we know not where, he decided to take up residence on the deck, admiring himself endlessly in the windows.

We discovered peacock was a misnomer – the deck was soon covered in poo which the dog would alternatively eat or roll in, given the slightest chance.

We started to hope Albert would go away.

As autumn leaves started to fall so, too, did Albert’s beautiful feathers. He abandoned the deck and took to skulking in the darkest corner of the shed.

As the days grew colder Albert would descend from his roost in the gum early each morning and make an embarrassed bee-line for cover, leaving a trail of feathers in his wake.

We pondered the logistics of getting a 6kg bird with spurs to the vet and started to give him little treats to cheer him up. Fruitcake was his favourite.

Come September Albert started stepping out from the shadows and, almost overnight, it seemed his magnificent tail was restored.

We congratulated ourselves on our fabulous fruit cake remedy, until someone pointed out this is what peacocks do … they lose their showy plumage each year.

Now we have a permanent resident who has a penchant for fruitcake, poos prodigiously and whose strangled cry for a mate can be heard a half a kilometre down the road.

He’s both beauty and a beast.

You could call it a cautionary tail.

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