Spring has sprung upon us. Thus far, I have found it a little too violent.
The day dawned bright and sunny. Like so many days before, we hauled the bikes out of the shed and set out on the short trip to deliver two junior recipe testers to school. The eldest of the juniors requested an alternate-to-usual route and I agreed. The youngest of the juniors there present did not wish to take that route and spent some time declaring it in a most irritating tone. As it happened I wish I had paid more heed to the alternate viewpoint, however aggravating the delivery of that opinion.
We'd just climbed the only uphill on the journey when the eldest of my charges started shrieking and crying. I looked up to see him pedalling as fast as he could in the wrong direction. The cause of his great distress was in hot pursuit, swooping and stamping its claws on his helmet on its way past his increasingly distressed person.
It was time to take charge. I instructed the junior recipe testers to dismount and cross to the other side of the road, where, I calmly explained, we would be out of the magpie's range and it would no longer bother us. On reflection, this theory requires a rethink.
My actions had the effect of moving us to a more open place with less canopy coverage. The bird was now able to focus its bombing on both the recipe testers as well as me. The most junior of my riding companions became completely unhinged. While the eldest shrieked occasionally, his sister entered a state of complete hysteria.
As an added bonus, the place I had stridently lead us to had no footpath and several side streets to cross. The steeply banked, lumpy, grassy nature strip made remounting our bikes a significant challenge. Instead we were left running with our bikes, negotiating the morning traffic and trying to avoid being skewered.
According to the font of much wisdom (the ABC), to avoid magpie attack one must look completely ridiculous. I have now tried this. It is a lie. One is hardly the picture of sophistication and grace while running a bike down a lumpy verge, stopping at regular intervals to imitate a helicopter, arms flailing above one's head.
Indeed, I furthered the suggestions of the quoted scientists by also sounding ridiculous. As my blood pressure increased so did the volume at which I spoke. I bellowed at the junior recipe testers a delirium about all being well and just to keep moving. My composure long dissipated, I simultaneously tried to comfort them. These motherly utterances were also delivered in shrill and raucous tones and did little to calm or console. Becoming increasingly desperate, I resorted to vociferating at the protagonist to leave us alone.
He simply observed me with beady eyes from atop the power lines.
I wished for a power surge.
If you find yourself under attack (or even if you'd like some artillery just in case!), may I suggest next week's menu?