Two Turtle Doves
Have you ever seen a spotted turtle-dove? It has a black collar with white spots on it. It looks like it’s from a lady’s dress or a pair of butterfly wings. It’s the prettiest of all the doves.
I once saw a turtle-dove standing over another dead turtle-dove because it didn’t want to leave it.
I know about birds because my Grandad gave me his bird book. He gave it to me so I can keep looking up birds even when I’m not at his house because he won’t be in.
Grandad dresses smartly and only wears shirts with collars and long sleeves and they have to have a pocket. He says a shirt without a pocket on the front is no use. He puts a pen in the pocket and his glasses. His other pockets, in his trousers, have got hankies in them. One for his nose and one for a spare in case a lady faints or cries and she needs to use it. Sometimes Grandad wears a suit, like on Christmas and at weddings or special birthdays and funerals.
Turtle-doves make a cooing sound and other doves can hear it from really far away. I know this because I heard one by the river and then I walked to the library with Grandad, which is ages away, and we saw another turtle-dove cooing in someone’s garden. We watched it and listened really carefully and could hear the other dove, the one at the river, calling all the way back.
Grandad told mum the food is crummy at the hospital so Mum brought him some biscuits. But she can’t do it every day because she’s too busy and Christmas is coming and she hasn’t wrapped our presents or done the food shop yet. I asked her what food is she going to get at the shops and is she going to get any cakes. She said Christmassy food like mince pies with a cherry on top and a pudding for the adults – and I won’t like it so I can have swiss rolls instead – and some chocolates and some nuts and probably something nice to drink. And a big fat chicken. But I don’t have to eat that because I’m vegetarian. I will probably get Linda McCartney sausages because that’s what I get every year.
Grandad likes birds but he also eats them. I don’t think he’s eaten a turtle-dove.
I can’t remember Granny’s cooking but she always had lovely cakes from the shops like battenberg and butterfly cakes. She kept them in a yellow tin and now the tin is on top of Grandad’s bookcase and no one’s allowed to touch it except Grandad.
Granny would hum a bit when she poured the tea and Grandad would say ‘Oh my favourite tune!’ and Granny would laugh and kiss him on the head. And when she finished pouring the tea she always, always sat next to Grandad on the couch and I always sat next to them. Even when it was Christmas and everybody was over and there was no room for everyone on the couch, I always sat next to them.