Pigeon English

Stense might think she's the Queen of Ditzy, but Carolyn can knock her into a cocked hat.

Yesterday, as Carolyn and I were walking through the main shopping street in Liverpool, there was a hawker selling Mr Punch-type throat whistles: Wa-wa-waaaah!! he cried in throat-whistly type of voice… That's the way to do it!!

"How did it do that?" gasped Carolyn, completely freaked out.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"How did it do it?"

"It's a special type of whistle."

"No, seriously, how did it do it?"

"I am being serious. It's how they do the Mr Punch voice in Punch and Judy."

At which point, Carolyn burst into uncontrollable laughter and started choking something incomprehensible at me. It took me 30 seconds or so to work out what she was trying to say:

She'd thought the noise had been made by a pigeon.

Postscript: Chat message between me an Carolyn half an hour after I posted the above:

Carolyn: … and I don't remember the pigeon saying 'that's the way to do it' - you made that up!!!
Richard: NO I DIDN'T! He definitely said 'That's the way to do it'! Have you been checking my website?
Richard: … What am I talking about? Of course the pigeon didn't say 'that's the way to do it' - the MAN said it! Are you trying to trick me?
Carolyn: NOBODY said it - it was just a loud pigeon noise. I would've known a pigeon can't talk - it was just a loud cooey caw.
Richard: A 'cooey caw'?? A 'cooey caw' doesn't sound anything like 'that's the way to do it'. Are you crazy?

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. More on the pigeon noise

    From the RSPB - 'coo coooo coo cu-cu' - assuming it was a wood pigeon call.

    Man from the RSPB on Radio 4 some weeks ago (when the Big Ben chimes were subistuted by Bird Calls) described it as "Take two cows, TaffY" as a way to remember its cadence.

    It has annoyed me ever since

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *