Many many years ago in that Jurassic era I call my childhood, I sometimes made a journey across the countryside to Lydiard Park. Back then West Swindon didn't exist. Just abandoned railway yards, farmland, and overgrown flak emplacements from WW2. I always remember passing through a village on the way where beside the road was a brake of trees that never seemed to grow any leaves, just existing as towering stalks of dark grey, always surrounded by flocks of crows that made the most unholy noise.
Of course now the village is absorbed into West Swindon and the unholy noise is made by late night drunkards. The crows have gone. Maybe that's because they had more sense than to stay. After all, crows and ravens are very clever birds.
I've seen a video clip of a crow using its puzzle solving abilities. Within seconds it retrieved a little metal basket full of food from an upright plastic cylinder by using a small metal rod with a hook at one end. I have to say, it was a very impressive display of animal intelligence.
A few weeks ago I was taking a shortcut through my local park. Normally it's quiet, a useful quality for a remembrance garden, but on this occaision four crows were having a bit of a tiff. They flapped their wings ceaselessly, hopped from branch to branch in some avian parody of martial arts fighters, going at each other hammer and tongs.
I can't remember what I said. Something like "Oh shut up" as I remember, and whaddya know? The crows stopped making noises, stopped moving, and the garden returned to its normal peaceful condition. Thank you.
So there you have it. Crows and ravens are not only quite intelligent, but very polite too. Don't know where they learned that from. It clearly wasn't the average Swindon youth.
Sermon Of The Week
I lost my temper. I really did. There I was, minding my own business as I strode homeward, when I encountered those pesky christian preachers. As they often do, one bellowed praise of Jesus and excerpts from his best seller whilst his mate handed out little cards with his phone number on them.
Out of the corner of my eye I couldn't help spotting his approach (the card distributor, not Jesus), grinning like a cheshire cat and determined to intercept me. That was when I lost my temper. "How many times do you have to be told NO!" I barked at him. Poor bloke. He backed off ever so quickly. He wasn't in much danger of course - a policeman was but yards away chatting to a member of the public and must of heard me explode. Funnily enough the preacher stopped shouting too.