On the school run a few months ago we noticed a couple of pheasants who seemed to lie in wait for our car. As soon as we drove through the country lanes which are their home the bigger pheasant, let’s call him Foremost Pheasant, would start running into the road. I nearly didn’t stop in time once and he made me feel guilty about it by hobbling into the road and stopping. We have called the road Pheasant Valley. It has become a regular feature of our school run, with the team adopting watch positions to check for pheasant activity.
However, the other day when I went to pick up daughters one and two they delivered some bad news. Their dad takes them to school in the morning. “Dad had an accident this morning,” said daughter two. “He killed number one pheasant.” “It was horrible,” said daughter one, a strict vegetarian. “The pheasant hit the side of the car and went up in the air and over the bush.” We slowed down as a mark of respect on the way home.
Daughter one is not one to overpraise her parents and she is well aware of her father’s Spanish tendencies towards animals. “If we get a pet rabbit, I will cook it for my dinner,” he said the other night. However, she was keen to explain that her dad had done his best to avoid the pheasant, but there was nothing he could do as it had run straight into the car from nowhere.
I emailed my partner at work. “I hear you have become a Pheasant Massacrer,” I said. He came back with a string of extenuating circumstances.
The school run the next day was very quiet. Foremost Pheasant’s friend has disappeared and Pheasant Valley is no more.
I’m not sure why, but I feel strangely upset by the death of the pheasant. There are so many sad things happening these days and I had grown quite fond of the pheasant.
The kids seem to be okay about it, though. They’re back to dancing and singing their way through the entire Just Dance 4 catalogue while I’m driving or telling me about what terrible things their teachers have done. Daughter three read out a book she has written about a rich girl who learns about the meaning of life after a helicopter crash in France. She had flown the helicopter from the US to France single-handedly. I mentioned to daughter three that helicopters are not really a transatlantic form of transport, but she has refused to bow to the constraints of reality, which is admirable in a way. Daughter one ran through her entire Chinese oral in the back. I have no idea if it is any good.
But I think the school run will never be the same again somehow. I told daughter three I was dedicating this blog to the pheasant and she said that was a nice thing to do. So, Foremost Pheasant, we salute you.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. Picture: Wikipedia.