COLM TOBIN: Putin and McGregor in my garden? Now, that’s completely for the birds

April 3rd, 2022 5:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

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AT the height of lockdown, I purchased an ornate bird feeding system for the back garden. It’s a cast-iron jobby with room to hang four feeders and two trays, including one for water.

I bought it for myself during Lockdown 2.4 when traffic in Dublin was at a standstill and all the wildlife in Ireland seemed to be assembling outside my back window.

To be honest, it got a bit weird and lonely there in the middle of the plague, so I figured I could do with a bit more company beyond my beloved wife and the childer. And so, the bird feeder arrived from the UK, a little post-Brexit miracle of zero customs, and I set to assembling it.

I had an image of myself abroad on the lawn, hands aloft like St Francis of Assisi, all the creatures of the sky alighting on my outstretched palms and the odd squirrel climbing up my leg for good measure.

But the reality, my friends, was quite different.

Because I live on the northside of our fair capital city, what I got instead was a load of durty ‘aul Dublin pigeons, ‘rats of the sky’ sporting tattoos, gimpy legs and a plethora of other injuries from years of gangland feuds and drug deals.

And these pigeons have since been conducting a reign of terror in my garden and frightening away all the lovely colourful little birds I had hoped to attract in the first place.

There are two pigeons, in particular, I have come to despise. One of them seems to be the enforcer, the loudest of the two who is most aggressive with the smaller birds. I call him McGregor.

The other lad is a bit older, with sly eyes and a really mean cut to his jib. He sits back and waits for his bagman McGregor to swoop in and do the dirty work and then glides down from his perch on my chimney to nibble on the spoils. As if butter wouldn’t melt in his beak.

Him, I call Putin.

So I can fully sympathise with President Biden when he said earlier in the week ‘For God’s sake, this man’ – [meaning Putin] – cannot remain in power.’ It’s time for regime change in my garden, too, and it’s high time I got rid of Putin and McGregor for good.   

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to discourage them, bar using a pellet gun which I’m sure the ISPCA wouldn’t appreciate.

And anyway, violence is not the answer.

Increasingly desperate, I am now nearing my fiftieth edition of emerging violently through the patio doors shouting ‘Feck off, Putin!’ and it’s having no effect.

That, and the neighbours are starting to get worried.

Send help.

A leaf out of Rob’s book

THIS cost of living crisis is zero craic, isn’t it? I remember the many Peig Sayers-intoned tales from my parents’ generation. ‘You don’t know how hard we had it! Interest rates were 15% in the ‘80s!’, they would weep as I sat before them nodding and slowly chewing on my smashed avocado on toast.

But we’re getting a little taste of it now, aren’t we? Petrol and diesel prices are eye-watering, literally – I saw a grown man in Sallynoggin weeping into his plastic gloves earlier in the week as he looked at the numbers on the pump. And thank God we’re coming out of heating season, because sitting around in eight jumpers, nursing a Bovril, is not a good look for a man my age.

At night, I have visions of Charlie Haughey looming over me like some ghost of recessions past, suggesting I tighten up the belt.

And it’s not confined to fossil fuels, either. A receipt did the rounds on Twitter at the  weekend from a fancy hotel in Co Tipperary which showed an order for scones & tea for three people for €45. Yes €45!!! Did Charles and Camilla bake the scones, or what??

And, to show how bad things are getting, Ant & Dec were giving away energy bill discounts as prizes in last weekend’s Saturday Night Takeaway. I grew up seeing people on TV delighted with their Know Your Sport umbrellas or his-and-hers ball-point pens – but energy bill discounts ...?!!!! That’s a new low. Personally, I’m going to be taking inspiration from Rob in The Great House Revival who we saw on telly on Sunday night, living in his bathroom while trying to finish the renovation on the rest of his house single-handedly (until the reserves showed up!) I’m thinking of putting the ‘family’ back into ‘family bathroom’ by moving all four of us in there for the rest of the year, or at least until inflation has calmed down. You haven’t lived until you’ve fried an egg while sitting on the toilet, it seems. Dowtcha Rob!


Oscars were not so Bravo

And finally, The Oscars ... Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Wee Donkey, what on Earth happened at the Oscars? You’ll all have seen the clip of Will’s clip across the face at this stage.

It’s already launched 100,000 hot takes on the internet.

These range from whether Will Smith’s actions were simply those of a dedicated husband protecting his wife from Chris Rock’s tasteless joke, to whether the assault and his subsequent hollow justification of it, are the very model of toxic masculinity.

And then there are the conspiracy theories … Was it staged?

Was it a Russian plot to distract from the war? Was it a Healy Rae plot to distract from all the ‘airy-fairy’ talk in The Dáil?

Whatever was going through Will Smith’s mind, his life just got flipped upside down and who knows what the consequences will be – if any.

A few months to cool off in a town called Bel Air mightn’t go astray, though.


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