It was the summer holidays of 1992 and my little sister and I were running around some ancient monolith or other when we came across a grounded flock of pigeons.
We weren’t stupid. When we came across a grounded flock of pigeons, we knew what to do.
No pigeon was ever safe when we were around, especially when we happened to be on holiday somewhere like the Rollright Stones or the Newgrange Megalithic Passage Tomb.
We were almost certainly missing Batman on the telly and we already had the sillies in us because moments earlier we’d spotted an earnest-looking young man dowsing for ley lines in a homemade pyramid hat.
Those feathered cretins were for it.
And so we careened into them like a couple of insane-with-mischief, unleashed dachshunds, tongues lolling, sending the pigeons flying and shitting into the skies.
“Yaaaay!” we said, and “Whoooo!” and “Heeeeeya!”
This was the business.
On holiday, out of school, surrounded by mysterious standing stones and we’d even been given a flock of pigeons to send flying flapperty-flap.
We were in Heaven.
Or possibly Devon. As I say, I can’t remember which holiday this happened on.
We watched as the pigeons circled the undoubtedly Cornish (or possibly Scottish or Welsh) skies as pigeons are wont to do.
We wondered if they would be so audacious as to return to their pecking grounds and risk a second menacing.
But suddenly, two old women appeared from nowhere.
Such an occurrence would not be remarkable if we’d been hanging out by the fountain in Dudley marketplace or by the statue of the horse called Albert in Wolverhampton town centre, but sudden biddy appearance is a spooky thing when you’re on holiday somewhere like the Avebury Circle or the Ring of Brodgar, the mists swirling.
Stomping around Pagan Britain with your Mum and Dad is all well and good until supernatural harridans are summoned.
We weren’t stupid. When spectral hags popped up, we knew what to do.
We acted casual.
I idly kicked at an imaginary bit of thing and whistled the melody from the theme tune of Rolf’s Cartoon Club.
My sister sunk her hands into the pockets of her Ivy the Terrible dungarees and rocked cutely from side to side.
The crones meanwhile fixed us with glowing white eyes before continuing on their way, pretending to admire the Henge or whatever it was.
“There are a lot pigeons around here,” said the first old woman airily.
She said it to her sister but clearly meant for us to hear her.
“Yes,” said the second old woman, “And one or two pigeon bullies too.”
Yaaaaah! She was talking about us. We were pigeon bullies.
We weren’t stupid. When you’re passively-chided by gay-for-pigeons elderly sisters in the presence of the dolmen of Trethevy Quoit or the cairn-circle of Moel ty Uchaf, we knew what to do.
My sister blew a very loud raspberry in their direction and I made a farty gesture with my arse and we ran away.
We did not look behind us in case the old women had vanished or we’d angered them into revealing their true batrachian forms.
It would be a modest day’s work for them to magically stop the hearts of a couple of tiny and perfectly innocent pigeon bullies.