07.09.2006 10:12 - My Families Other Animals
My family has a long history of mental pets.
My Aunt Annie, for instance. Long-gone, but sadly missed.
The same cannot be said for some of her pets.
The dogs and cats were OK. She had a little dog named Winky. Winky was a cute little pup. Winky was also capable of taking down the average staffy. A lovely little dog, but mental, completely mental.
Then there was the cat who hated reading. This cat had worked out that if you were reading a newspaper, it had got you trapped. As soon as you opened a paper, it would sit on your lap and demand to be stroked. If cuddles were not forthcoming, a slight reminder was delivered by flexing its claws into your flesh.
But these were the "inside" pets, and nothing compared to the "outside" pets.
Outside lived the goat and the gander. Either one of these creatures were enough to see off any intruders. Together, they formed an impenetrable security shield. Forget infra red cameras and electric fences, if you want impossible-to-breach security, invest in a goat and a flock of geese. It was bad enough that the goat would constantly try and headbutt anyone approaching the door, irrespective of whether they were friends, family, post or milkmen.
The real problem was that the geese and the goat were working together. Whilst you were busy flailing at the geese, the goat would charge you from behind.
As a child I grew to fear Aunt Annie's back garden. We would be sent to play there whilst the grown-ups talked.
"Play" is, of course, a euphemism.
By "play" I mean "run screaming round the garden whilst the geese and goat savaged us alternately". Remember, if you will, that I was still in short trousers at the time. My knees are still covered in goosebill-shaped scars from "playing with the animals."
I often think that anyone who bemoans the fate of geese being fattened for Paté de foié Gras has never really met a goose, otherwise they'd realise that the bastards deserve every moment of it.