My first memory on waking this morning was a cool breeze through the open window. I always prefer to sleep with it open, partly to keep cool but also because the noises outside, whether the sounds of traffic and distant conversation at night, the world slowly waking up at dawn or – my favourite – the rain lashing against neighbouring rooftops, all of them give me a comforted feeling, they remind me that the world’s still there.

And sometimes they’re fucking funny.

Once my senses started to emerge from their slumber I realised there was a vaguely familiar but still somewhat strange noise coming from the back green (I live in an Edinburgh tenement block where a group of buildings encloses a number of common garden spaces. My bedroom looks out onto this). It was a strange, vaguely high-pitched and urgent “Aaaaah” sound, repeated at almost regular intervals. “No problem”, thought I, “just a bird”. Well yeah, it was a bird, just not that kind. Every time the sound appeared my brain edged ever closer to full consciousness and realised, to my pseudo-adolescent amusement, that it was a distinctly non-avian female engaged in coitus.

Get up and shut the window? Nah, couldn’t be bothered.

Wake up properly and go for a run? Nah, having a morning off to rest.

So I just lay there and hoped they’d get it over and done with quickly. As I remember from my own efforts at this sort of thing in the murky past the whole shebang should last about 30 seconds, maybe even a minute of the fella’s some kind of inhuman super-athlete. But no, it kept on going, and that’s when the fun kicked in.

From outside, after a particularly enthusiastic “aaah”, came another sound, a similar but definitely distinct “kaaaa?”. And from that point onwards every couple of passionate gasps would be answered by a squawk or two, sometimes a “kaaaa”, sometimes an “aaa-aaaaaa”. I thought something was missing from the usual morning soundtrack – there tends to be a decent number of birds in that back green and now someone had woken them up.

First one, then another, then a whole host of them started joining in the comedy call and repeat, the birds’ calls falling in almost perfect synchronisation with the gasps, all rising in urgency and tempo, to all intents and purposes like the avian feathered equivalent of a heated pub conversation until – an unexpected, brief silence from the amorous couple…

And then the laughter started. I mean proper pissing-yourself laughter that must have been audible from the top of Arthur’s Seat. I tried to imagine myself in the guy’s position – feeling a little bit frisky first thing in the morning, getting down and dirty with the missus, when all of a sudden the entire feathered cast of The Birds descends outside your want and starts giving it “Get in there my son!, Give ‘er one from me!”. No man can possibly keep going through that, I don’t care if he’s with Salma Hayek, or even Johnny Depp.

So that was my amusing start to the day, hope it carries on like that.

PS – Don’t know if my ex still reads this. If you do I had a dream last night and you briefly appeared in it. Nothing out of the ordinary except you were in the middle of getting a full-face tattoo featuring, among other things, a bizarre purple geometrical pattern on your cheek and a bald eagle holding a tattered Stars & Stripes on your forehead. If you are thinking of doing this in real life I strongly advise against it, not a good look 🙂


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