(Photo from web of Greylag Goose)
For several days now I've had a lone greylag goose in my field behind the house. I've named him "Bill" in memory of a pet goose I had when I was five. Bill II seems quite happy in the field, eating grass and grubs or whatever geese eat, and he has his very own pond plus the company of lapwings, oystercatchers, curlews and various field birds. But I have no idea why s/he is alone. I'm hoping once Spring comes Bill will fly North and join other flocks of geese. Although I wouldn't mind another pet goose!
When I was five I won a raffle at a local fete. The first prize was a goose, and my dad, who bought the ticket, was expecting a dead, plucked and dressed goose to arrive on the doorstep. Um... so it was a shock to my parents and a delight to me to find a LIVE one turning up. I named him Bill after my best friend at the time. Bill (the goose) lived in the shed in the garden and I led him round the garden on the dog lead. Dad built a pen for him, but Bill clearly had other ideas and kept escaping to the allotments behind the house which meant Dad and brother, Pete, had to keep chasing the goose, providing many hours of entertainment for the neighbours.
However the day came when it was decided by my parents that Bill had to go. So a local neighbour who was a butcher came and "did the deed" while I was at school. I was really sad to see Bill go. However completely unknown to me, Mum served up "Bill" for Sunday lunch. To this day my sister reminds me that I ate my friend Bill the goose! In my defence I didn't know! And I did keep the pillow stuffed with his goose down feathers for many years afterwards. AND I've never forgotten him. Anyway I'd better reassure Bill II that he is not destined for the same fate (fete?!).......
Fortunately Bill is too big ( even if he may be injured) to fall prey to the local cat population, of which Button is one. I found the remains of a dead lapwing in one of the barns, so I don't know if that was Button, Charlie Boy or one of the other many Graemsay cats. Sigh. I am rather worried about the wild bird chick population this summer.
Well I am just off to Stromness. Haven't been able to escape the house for a whole week but most of the snow has disappeared on Graemsay and so I shall venture forth to buy more provisions (in case of further snow) and to meet up with friends for lunch. I am already hallucinating about a cafe latte and wondering what else is on the menu!