Birds and tattoos and Cheeky

Arazeli g1ot a tattoo. Yes (!!!), I thought and, I couldn’t have asked for a better giftA better gift? WHY and HOW on earth could another person’s tattoo be a present for me you wonder? Well, first of all, it happened before. Many many years ago, my then other half came home one evening, after spending the day with some friends in town, crying enthusiastically cheerful – evidence of having downed a couple of pints on the way home – Hey little one, got a bonnie wee surprise fer ye! We’ve a new addition to oor ye-an’-me-an’-a dog hoosehold!! Oh no, I feared the worst. Tentatively I asked, But where is it, whilst my eyes scanned for signs of a puppy or kitten hidden under J’s T-Shirt or a holy cardboard box, the means of transport for a hamster perhaps, or a bird, or a chameleon or other lizard-like creature, which I really wanted back then. And as my eyes wandered upwards…slowly, I saw ‘it’ and I can tell you now, I had to look twice. What on earth is ‘that’, I thought, before screaming, Butpepelepew2, but…you’ve got a tattoo…a cartoon tattoo, and my eyes finally rested on the black and white and extremely charming French skunk Pepé le Pew. Pepé, notorious for constantly looking for l’amour in Paris’s streets during spring time, was laughing at me, seductively, through the recently applied cling film, which was tightly wrapped around J’s left upper arm. And J said, that this tattoo was my special present.

Secondly, ever since I saw a tattoo for the first time, as a young girl, I knew that one day I’d be displaying some beautiful inky art somewhere on ‘moi‘. So, Arazeli’s tattoo was a gift in a sense that it brought back my long forgotten wish to get one and it made me think of that perfect first design and that perfect first bodily area that should serve as its canvas…ah…yes…by the way…this whole tattoo thing is NOT even the slightest possible sign of a (mild) mid-life crisis! (ha, I would say that, wouldn’t I?).

As of today, hurray hurray, I finally know which design and where to place it leaving only the when to be decided.

What: Birds. Why? Well, I’ve always loved birds. I remember that back home in Austria, I used to wake up and fall asleep to their morning and evening songs. And in the neighbours garden, in an old oak tree, that stood amongst other trees, I think acacias and chestnut trees, there lived this beautiful woodpecker whom I enjoyed listening to as he pecked the bark to get some grub from underneath it and whilst listening I imagined how he’d pull out a long worm from the freshly made hole in the oak’s thick trunk just below its branches. And then in winter, there were little robins and sparrows and blue tits, who’d come to our birdhouse and my grandmother’s windowsill, where we’d left some seeds after breakfast to watch them feeding.

After I’d moved to London I missed our garden and the birdsong but soon one white bird with a yellow crest and orange cheeks, became my feisty friend. I called him Cheeky. Cheeky, who came from a bird rescue centre soon felt 1 (1)comfortable in his new home. And what clever bird he was. He knew the first chords of the theme song from Eastenders! What talent, I thought, and from that moment on I’d spent hours on end sitting in front of him whistling, determined to teach him a new song. The first time he imitated my tune I nearly fell off the sofa. From then on, as soon as I came home after work and I’d whistle our song, and Cheeky would jump onto the side bars of his cage, raise his crest, stretch his head towards the main door, climb out of the cage (the door was always kept open) and fly straight onto my head. There, he would preen my hair or hammer softly on my head before roosting. 

So, my first design will be a flock of 5 little birds flying towards … not telling… use your imagination!

When I found the pictures of me and Cheeky I thought of the following …


How upset he was 

squawking and walking 

up and down the sofa 

when he’d noticed

my shaved head.

How he ignored me, 

punishing me for having 

to now sit on short sharp 

bristles, that replaced 

his curly nest. 

How he screeched at me!

Did he look back to when

he preened my curls

carefully drawing them through

his strong beak

thinking I was his mate?

I remember the day 

when he returned stalking 

around my head again and 

I felt his warm feet and

knew I’d been forgiven. 

United again Cheeky gently

pecked my head 

perhaps searching for the curls 

he’d once preened and I wondered: 

Did he forget?

Soon after and sitting on my

shoulder he puffed himself fluffy 

and grinding his beak

he fell asleep before

returning to his perch.


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