Sunday, 5 August 2012
Sparrows and Parrots
My husband saw a parrot today.
So what, I hear you say. Perhaps you're thinking he visited an old aunt with a caged bird or wandered around a pet shop or a zoo. No. He was working in London and spotted it in a tree.
So what, I hear you mutter. The odd parrot escapes now and then. No big deal.
Well I have a little tale to tell, which may help you to understand why my husband was so anxious to see it and I was perturbed to hear that he had.
This experience left such an impression on me that I wrote a sub-plot for my first novel, Lies and Linguine, around the theme. My husband Paul, hadn't been feeling well for weeks and so decided to make an appointment with his doctor. Without any specific symptoms to speak of, the doctor told Paul that there were more sparrows in the sky than parrots. This flippant remark obviously meant that Paul probably wasn't suffering with anything exotic, and to get on with his life. Which he did!
About a fortnight after hearing his doctor make this remark, Paul shouted for me to hurry into the kitchen. He was pointing at something sitting on our garden fence.
An exotic parrot!
We live in Nottingham, not exactly a tropical rain forest! It'd obviously escaped from its cage, but nonetheless, it made the goose bumps tingle. For the next few weeks, Paul hadn't felt any better. It came to a head one cold, dark November morning, before anyone was awake. A strange, terrifying noise woke me from a deep sleep. It sounded like an animal in pain. NEXT TO ME!
I switched on the bed-side lamp to see my husband, unconscious on the bed. He was having a grand mal seizure. His face was grey, his lips were blue and a trickle of blood dribbled from his mouth from where he'd bitten his tongue. The children came running in to the bedroom because of the loud noise their daddy was making. After calming three terrified crying children and calling for an ambulance, things happened quickly. Paul was assessed and allowed home, with an appointment to go to radiology for a brain scan.
Arriving in radiology at hospital, we were once again shocked into silence, on seeing a brightly coloured poster behind the receptionist's desk. A heading proudly boasted, 'Parrots of the World.' Suddenly there seemed to be a lot more parrots than sparrows in our lives.
Paul was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which was miraculously operated on successfully. Paul's recovery and absence from his company, led to the folding of his own design agency. It also instigated a house move, as Paul wasn't allowed to drive. But, ten years on, Paul is well and we look back on that episode in our lives, as a lesson learnt.
Life is short. Make the most of it. Don't get hung up on trivial arguments or irritations.
You don't know what's round the corner.
Except he's just seen another damned parrot!