Back Seat Driver

Only in the countryside, eh? Thankfully, the avian driver of the vehicle wasn’t fined by an officer of Her Majesty’s finest for allowing her passengers to travel without a seat belt, nor did she incur a fine herself  for travelling without one.
Back seat driver.JPGGoodness knows how – or indeed if – she reached the pedals, or managed to change gear with those flappy, feathery wings. It was a good job she wasn’t breathalysed, although if she had been, instructions to Keep Blowing Keep Blowing Keep Blowing! may have thrown up a few Beak-to-Breathalyser issues.

So how did this sparky little madam end up in the back of a Landy? How indeed. I could say she was being filmed for BBC’s Countryfile. I could say she was being busted from a chicken farm and being taken to safety. I could say that I found her wandering around willy-nilly on the side of the road (that does happen round these parts). Or I could say she was being taken for a day out. Choice is yours; you decide. Whatever the reason, rest assured she will be appearing in my next  series of short stories, A Collection of Unexpected Short Stories.

Here’s a taster. Appropriate, really, considering the temperature today!


She puffs out her chest as the north wind buffets her small body and ruffles the delicate feathers tasked with protecting her from the chill of winter. Perched amid a leafless web of spiky hawthorn branches the sparrow finds little shelter from the icy confetti that falls silently and steadily around her, yet she is content to wait. A trudge of foot, a gentle call and a sweeping hand knocks snow from the bird-table and it falls a second time, a mini avalanche of ice dust to land on the snow below. Crumbs of fatty nuts and bread are hastily scattered across the snow-dusted table and then she is alone once more. With darting swiftness she takes flight and lands amid the food, a rich brown berry on the pure white snow. Hungrily she gathers what she can. To make it through this darkest of seasons she must eat every day, the scales of sustenance holding her struggle so stay alive precariously in the balance until the earth tips Springward again. She eats quickly before her banquet disappears beneath fresh snowfall.

            Other birds, with empty stomachs and keen eyes are also looking for food. On soundless wings a sparrow hawk descends – because she too, must eat.


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