Churchill (near right) had a thing about men. He didn’t like them. At all. Top of his hit list, unfortunately, was Mike. And equally unfortunately, it was largely Mike’s fault.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is indeed possible for man and goose to peacefully coexist. Central to the maintenance of this precarious relationship, however, there lies an incontrovertible principle. The Goose Is In Control. And so it was in the bucolic world of the farm in which we then lived. The geese seemed to think they had power of authority over the traffic that used the estate road. They would sit by the gate and vet the credentials of anyone coming in or attempting to leave. On a particularly cantankerous day they would position themselves not on the grass verge but in the very centre of the tarmac. Churchill would pace around for several minutes to select precisely the right spot. And thus settled was extremely reluctant to move. Many was the day I had to get out of the car and vigorously ‘shoo’ to make any headway at all.
Mike took a more aggressive stance, edging the car right up to the geese in the belief they would, eventually, get out of the way. It was never going to work. By virtue of his anatomy, Churchill always held the trump card. A head would appear over the front of the bonnet and a standoff ensue which could last for a while.
Both parties came to regard the evening encounter as sport. Should Mike return early and catch them unawares, they would race across the lawn to head him off at the bend around the sycamore tree. Or screech at him raucously from the far side of the lake. But all said and done, Mike still had to park the car in the barn around the back of the house and then traverse a hundred yards or so of enemy territory to reach the front door. By the time he got there..
Churchill would be lying in wait