Don’t Stone the Crows, a homage to crows, my entry in the Calverley Scarecrow Festival
We make a great team, Noel and I. I have all the creative and wacky ideas, Noel brings the snigger of reason…’you want to do what?‘ and ‘have you thought this through?’, or just the plain old sucking of air through the teeth and shaking of the head.
Still, this time it was different. With the village scarecrow festival fast approaching, I had an idea, though this is usually the point where creativity and practicality go their separate ways. A book I picked up in Canada talked about the near-human nature of crows, they look after each other, they mourn their dead, they use tools (which is more than can be said of some humans who, say, still haven’t fixed the shed door…), they recognise individual humans and they have a memory or, in cases where they have been ill-treated, they hold a grudge. The more I read, the more I liked them, so I decided that rather than making a straw effigy that would scare them, I’d celebrate this remarkable species.
The idea was simple, fill the front of our terrace house with crows, not real ones of course, that would be foolish, they’d make far too much racket not to mention all that poo. With the lounge full of hand-drawn crows and bits of black material, I announced that I was going to make them fly from the bedroom window, suspended in mid-air, like a scene from Hitchcock’s avian frightfest The Birds . I had this vague idea of dangling them from wire, then anchoring them to the ground with Gaffer tape and garden canes, maybe a pulley or two.
Fortunately Noel has done maths, physics, trigonometry and woodwork, so he suggested (ever so carefully, mind you, he knows how sensitive we creative types can be) that good though this concept was (genius was the word I might have heard), there may be some practical challenges in its execution. At least I think that’s what he said, he had difficulty getting the words out because he was sniggering so much.
So a trip to various DIY stores and the local angling suppliers yielded fishing line, eyelets and a fancy twisty turny thing to fit them along with a multi-meter, but I think that was for something else, which I was assured would ‘come in handy’. There were diagrams, graphs, simulations and a project plan with gantt chart, followed by a ‘you stand outside and catch the bird’ discussion, much to the amusement of the neighbours and a passing outing of the Calverley Walking Club who stopped to eat their sandwiches before striding out in their stout shoes to the woods, clicking their trekking poles on the pavement as they went.
Although I say it myself the team effort looks not too bad at all. Living beside the main road, I fear our birds may already have spooked a few drivers, heads are certainly turning. Thank goodness I didn’t go with my original plan and give them all human faces!
The Calverley Scarecrow Festival starts tomorrow (10 August) and runs until the 18th.