I was searching the High street for my mother in law : this hadn’t happened before, and since I thought I knew her movements, I was mystified when I couldn’t find her. She usually comes to a group I run, but hadn’t shown up. We often go for a cup of tea and a bacon roll afterwards.I phoned when the group finished, and didn’t get an answer. I drove to her house, where I could hear her dogs barking frantically. Then again, they always bark frantically.
Her neighbour said she had left 10 minutes before, walking towards the shops. I knew she had been at her regular hospital appointment the week before, because I had run her up there after the group. What I didn’t know was that she had left me a note stuck to her front door, but I never got that far because I spoke with her neighbour.. So I drove round and parked, and then checked her usual haunts : the Library, the butcher’s, the two second-hand shops, the tearoom, the deli, the veg shop and the Coop. No sign - so I repeated the search, this time stopping for a minute at my favourite second hand shop and acquiring a very nice spring green fleece.
I tried to phone again, and then decided I might as well head back home to Inverness. However, I thought, ‘I am running tonight at 7, and I am hungry now’ - trying for mindful eating. I bought a wonderful hot steak pie from the Bakers, and headed back towards the car, in the cold spring sunshine. And because it was sunny, I decided to eat said pie outside the car, to avoid lots of flaky pastry crumbs.
I had the first bite, and it was heavenly, particularly since it was a rare treat. Then a young seagull walked towards me (the spotty ones who look a bit grubby). A meek little plea for food, and I broke an edge of pastry off and threw it towards the bird. Suddenly, out of nowhere and coming from behind me, about a dozen mature gulls appeared, knocked the lovely pie out of my hand, leaving me with only the last corner of pastry. The pie described an elegant arc in the air, landed splat on the tarmac, and was greedily devoured by a flapping, shrieking, tumbling fuss of gulls, some of whom might have had a burnt mouth, since the pie was very hot. And I berated them : they were bad boys and girls for ruining my lunch (had anyone been listening they would have ended themselves laughing). I even stamped my foot!
I still had the last corner held up in my left hand, when yet another adult gull swooped from behind, snatched the remnant, grazing it’s serrated beak along my finger and drawing blood (I didn’t know their beaks were serrated, till then). So I got in the car and drove home. I did consider buying another pie, but decided the Universe had prevented me from having the first, so who was I to deny my destiny.
Note to self : don’t feed gulls, especailly not in Nairn! My mother in law was fine all along, of course.
Kate MacLean 25/02/16