I sprang into action and pulled out the best weapon in my arsenal: the feline hiss. I climbed onto the antique cast-iron tub (honestly - it’s almost a century old), put my face as close to the sound as possible, and let fly. If I do say so, my cat hiss is spectacular. The tapping stopped dead. When it started up again about a minute later, I threat-nailed it again, and silence finally reigned. Victory!
So it’s got me thinking about second languages.
Like Jane Goodall I was a huge Dr. Doolittle fan and while I can read French, my preferred second languages are non-human. I do a passable grouse, for example, but I’m most fluent in macaw. Having lived with one for twenty years, I can summon up a happy drowsy going-to-sleep macaw when necessary. Handy in a pet shop when you are in the mood to scratch an unfamiliar turquoise head and kiss a delicate powdery-white cheek. I can also mimic a macaw's version of English. If you are interested, it’s much further back in the throat and is a low half-growl, although it sweetened up noticeably whenever Bijou saw a yellow vehicle - school bus or Kapoda - and tried to get its attention for the purpose of matrimony. It was at its worst on a cartrip to the West Coast. Her hanging perch was above my newspapered lap and she said “Hi!” to every car we passed, no matter the colour. Thank heavens it was off-season.
And, of course, I call the chickadees down when the feeders have been refilled, and it’s kind of fun in the spring to tease the male cardinals proclaiming their ownership of a breeding site. I can fool them for a few moments until they realize that their whistles are far lustier and that the interloper is a weenie and no threat. Ditto for my great-horned owl hoots. I can get along in morning dove but would hate to try to order lunch with it.
I’ve been working in the back garden (AKA New Forest) trying to pull the last enchanters nightshades before Theodore gets to them and comes back is studded with burs and looking like a punk rocker. I’ve lots of company. The robins are busy stripping the pagoda trees of their juicy black berries so they can go and perch over the Adirondack chairs with predictable results. The cicadas are getting noisy again so the temperature must be rising. In fact, the insect string sections perform round the clock, the cicadas relieved by crickets and katydids once the sun sets. I don’t speak insect but the best guess is that they play nothing but love songs like an AM station at the beach. Good luck, fellas. Thanks for the soundtrack.