So what have I been up to over the last week? In a word, recovering.
The thing is, I have this weird phobia. As far as I know, my phobia doesn't have a name, so why don't I give it one? I'll call it flapophobia: I can't stand animals flapping around in a blind panic near me. I'm talking about moths and birds basically. I don't like it at all. It scares the shit out of me.
Not that I'm scared of moths and birds, you understand. Far from it, I think moths and birds are really cool. It's just the flapping I can't abide. I'm afraid that, in their panic, they might crash into me and get hurt. I think it's the thought of hurting them that's really behind my phobia. Well, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Which is why I had such a terrible shock last Sunday. I got out of bed at the usual time, opened the bedroom door, and heard a crow cawing loudly nearby. Hearing crows cawing is not unusual—we have a pair nesting in one of our chimneys at the moment—but this caw had a very definite echo to it, as if the bird was in a confined space, like our hallway, say.
So I decided to deal with the situation in the best way I knew how: I went and woke Jen and told her that we had a crow in the hallway, explaining that it must have fallen down the chimney. Jen knows all about my phobia, so she sighed and got out of bed, and the two of us tip-toed down the stairs, with me, rather surprisingly, at the front. When I got near the bottom of the stairs, I looked very carefully up and down the hallway. There was no sign of any crow, so I took another step forward, and all hell broke loose:
The crow had been hiding in a dark corner near the bottom of the stairs, and hadn't heard us coming. Suddenly, there was a terrified, cawing mass of feathers flapping about my head. Well, there was for one second at least, after which I doubled up into a tiny ball, let out a low howl, and barged past poor Jen back up the stairs. I'm not kidding, I'd never had such a fright in my life. My heart was literally pounding in my chest, and my upper body was shaking uncontrollably.
While I was giving it the Tippi Hedren's upstairs, Jen, with great efficiency, grabbed my fleece jacket from the banister, threw it over the crow, picked the bird up, released it though the patio door, and put the kettle on.
My heart rate returned to normal about two hours later. The shaking stopped about five minutes ago.