Airborne Invasion


It’s been awhile since I wrote about geese.

The spirited little flock that used to share take over our lives held deeply entrenched views on a number of things. They were fond of corn. But on the plus side that’s about as far as it went. Pretty much everything else would be met with a vociferous assault. Mike was top of their hit list. And then any traffic that dared to stray onto the farm road.

The geese, with Churchill at the helm, were fiercely protective of their airspace. A heron turned this challenge into a sport. It would ensure that its landing trajectory took it directly over their heads, dangling its feet almost (but just not quite) into the range of an upturned beak. Hot air balloons were a favourite. Spotted from afar they were kept under surveillance lest they should dare to float close by. Notwithstanding, some had the audacity to pass right over the lake, all eyes from below drilled into their target. As soon as the balloon could be deemed well beyond the point of no return it was treated to a piece of the collective mind. Not the best moment for someone to lean out of the basket and wave.

One memorable weekend an air display was held nearby. Mike decided to go along, but as it turned out he could have saved the £10 entrance fee and stayed at home. I got a coffee and went to sit outside. The RAF were forming up their displays over the fields on the far side of the farm. Regrettably, they had chosen to lock into formation directly over the lake before flying on over the village to the airfield beyond.

The geese stood and watched the first oncoming planes. And then waited, in customary silence, until the last one had passed almost out of sight. But just as Churchill opened his beak to let them know exactly how he felt, the next wave of aircraft hove into view. An AWACS, with a Tornado jet on either side. Very big and very loud. The geese went into apoplexy. Total pandemonium broke out on the farm road. They scattered in every direction. Two collided and started a fight. A third made a lunge for the wing of a fourth and feathers flew. Wave after wave of aircraft passed low overhead. There was nothing for it but make a break for the barn. Wings flapping, necks outstretched and screeching like banshees they raced off up the road.

It was the sound of Mike’s returning car that eventually drew them back down.

The look in his eyes said it all. For Churchill there was absolutely no doubting where the blame lay.


Airborne Invasion

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2017-11-07T11:27:33+00:00November 22nd, 2012|Tags: |


  1. Em November 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I wonder why you no longer have them?

    • Jessica November 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      They were at a property we were renting before buying this place. I loved them to bits and would have some again when we’ve got a bit more settled.

  2. simone November 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    I can just picture the scene Jessica! ‘Two collided and started a fight’ drums up a hilarious image in my mind! Of course Mike was to blame. 🙂

    • Jessica November 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      In Churchill’s opinion Mike was to blame for everything. If I saw his eyes narrow, his neck go to full stretch, and his head drop down to ground level I would know that Mike was somewhere about..

  3. Denise November 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Loved this. My favourite trailer in the David Attenborough snippet is of the low flying geese alongside his boat! Still miss ours xxxx

    • Jessica November 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Denise. Yes, I saw that trailer too. Fantastic! You’ve reminded me, I have still to watch the prog. on iPlayer.

  4. john November 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    out of all of my animals , my geese are my most favourite
    I could never envisage not having them

    • Jessica November 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      They have such character don’t they John, such personality?
      And attitude. Can’t resist an animal with attitude.

  5. Modern Country Style November 22, 2012 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    This made me laugh so much! You really have got a fab way of bringing these scenes to life!

    Geese are funny creatures, aren’t they – so cross and quacky (or honky!!?)…


    • Jessica November 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah!
      Honky, squawky, hissy… you name it!

  6. CherryPie November 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Ha Ha 🙂 I love the scene you have painted in my mind. Geese are such funny creatures.

    • Jessica November 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      They are adorable Cherry 🙂 Except when they bite!

  7. BadPenny November 23, 2012 at 8:18 am - Reply

    This would make a great annimation ! You write so beautifully I could picture every dramatic moment. Blaming Mike is such a giggle.

    • Jessica November 23, 2012 at 9:49 am - Reply

      Thanks Penny. Watch out Wallace and Gromit!

  8. Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden November 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    What a hoot. Poor Mike. There was a fearful gaggle that used to guard a lift bridge (probably still do) on the Oxford Canal where it passed through a bucolic little farmyard at Wolvercote. Talk about running the gauntlet every time we passed that way and I had to raise the bridge for our boat.
    And speaking of domineering animals I will be interested in your mouse-proofing of bulb experiments.

    • Jessica November 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      They can be fearsome.. there was many a visitor pretty scared of coming to our house because of the geese. Unfortunately I made it worse by feeding them – they saw any newcomer as a rival for their food supply!
      I hope I can still plant the bulbs, but I may have been scuppered by the weather. Our soil has been saturated by unprecedented rain over the last couple of days, more to come tomorrow.

  9. Rosie November 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    You describe the geese being spooked by the planes so well, what a kerfuffle (I do love that word) they caused and of course they had to blame someone:)

    • Jessica November 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rosie. They were such characters. They would challenge cars, but if a tractor (or heaven forbid, one of those double decker sheep transporters) came up the road they always seemed to be looking the other way..

  10. Ali November 24, 2012 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Love your goose tale. Mark, my eldest, had his first encounter when he was about 6 and got chased by one while collecting eggs at a friends’ farm. It showed him who was boss! I don’t know who was more indignant afterwards – him or the goose.

    • Jessica November 24, 2012 at 9:47 am - Reply

      Thanks Ali. If there is one thing a goose likes to be it is the boss! I hope the encounter didn’t scare Mark for life, I can quite understand how it might.

  11. elaine November 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Ha ha what larks – I have never kept geese myself but had some rather aggresive Aylesbury ducks who were far too big for their boots.

    • Jessica November 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm - Reply

      Oh no, and very noisy too I gather!

  12. Natalie November 27, 2012 at 2:34 am - Reply

    Love this. I really need to get some geese for the farm!

    • Jessica November 27, 2012 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Thanks Natalie.

      You should, they are SUCH fun. But, a bit like buying a puppy, it’s as well to assess temperament prior to purchase! Especially with the Chinese type. Churchill REALLY hated men. I would fear for Gordon’s ankles..

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