Seagulls are angry looking creatures whose scavenging skills make you wonder why there weren’t more seen looting shops during the UK riots of last year.
As a youngster, the sight, or even the sound of a seagull meant excitement. It meant we were near the coast and, with a bit of luck, near a beach.
But once you move to a coastal town, you start to view them differently.
Some residents here in the Isle of Man will recall the tale of a café in the seaside town of Peel whose staff were at a loss for a solution because of one rather persistent pilferer who kept swooping for a snack taken from the tables in the outside area.
Only last week I witnessed one guy in a park feed about two loaves of bread to a gathering throng of the screeching harpies, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the sea was just 50 feet away and there was a time when the ocean was considered a lavish enough larder for such birds.
And then today, while enjoying another epic session in a promenade playground in our capital town of Douglas, I watched one particular seagull – who had the look of UK education secretary Michael Gove about him, if I must be honest – prey on vulnerable youngsters.
First to be targeted was a young girl, who made the mistake of leaving a half-eaten pasty on the bottom step leading up to the slide.
Flap, wham, pasty was gone before you could say ‘revoked VAT plan’.
He lurked as Speller and son shared a banana, but we stared him out.
Like many seagulls and Tory ministers, this chap did not liked being faced down, instead preferring to target the vulnerable and the unwatchful.
The Gove Gull, having first targeted the vulnerable with the young girl’s pasty, then went for the unwatchful.
Another dad, proudly looking on as his son and my son chased each other round in ever decreasing circles challenging each other to stop first, was clearly unaware of the impending danger, although his partner had already tried to indicate the risk.
Dads, of course, should know they never know better than mums. There was another swoosh and a beak darted out and pulled back with half a baguette the prize.
This dad’s response was to throw a lot of water at the seagull.
Strangely, being a bird that, by rights, should spend most of its time ducking in and out of the sea, the Gove Gull remained unperturbed.
So it was the dad left the scene, crestfallen, taking with him his son and partner.
And the Gove Gull looked on with the kind of smug, superior sneer that makes you imagine he’s just flown in from Chipping Norton…
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