Grandad (the retired truck-driving one) didn't always have a budgie. No, initially his relationship to the tiny blue bird of terror was relinquished into his care whenever its owner, Aunt Doll*, went away on holiday. As time marched on, the holidays became more and more frequent and the length of the bird's stay longer and longer. Eventually, the Grandad-based holiday became the norm and the budgie took up permanent residence.
Uncle Dickie (for such was the budgie's name, presumably in honour of the late, great, teeth-rattling braces-pinger) had quite the presence for such a small bird. Personally, I've never been a fan of birds as pets (don't really know why, just find them a bit boring, I guess) but he was a fairly entertaining and I think he helped Grandad to deal with a dark time in his life. My Nana died of cancer when I was about 14 and Grandad was living with my great nan, Nannie. Unfortunately for him, this was his mother-in-law - a woman he'd always hated but felt duty bound to look after for the sake of Nana's memory. One of the main reasons he had no real love for her was that she had lived with the pair of them for their entire married life and had not even allowed holidays on their own - their one concession to time as a couple was a night of ballroom dancing once a week.
So there he was, in a maisonette in Lewisham, living with a woman he couldn't bear. Small wonder then that a small blue flying thing became such a firm companion. To give the bird its due, Uncle Dickie was a fair old character. Allowed to roam free in the sitting room**, he asserted his dominance over the area at every turn.
Having something to eat? Well then, Dickie wanted some of that, thank you very much, going so far as to perch on your hand and attempt to peck at the morsel as you raised it to your mouth. He was particularly fond of salt and vinegar Chipsticks. Having a drink? Yep, he'd have some of that, too, especially if it was of a boozy nature. Unfortunately for all of us, he was an aggressive drunk...
To Be Continued...
* My great aunt Dorothy. She wasn't literally a doll. That would be daft and a little odd. What were you thinking?
** He never ventured out. Even if the sitting room door, he just wouldn't venture beyond the safe confines of his small domain.