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Getting Up With The Birds

Early mornings aren't for everybody.

I am an early morning kind of guy.

I am that annoying person that, generally, jumps out of bed and charges into the day with zest and enthusiasm. Much to the irritation of my wife, who, let's just say, isn't a morning person at all.

I gently creep out of bed, pick up a pile of clothes, strategically picked and placed the night before to minimise any noise in the morning, and tiptoe downstairs avoiding all the creaky floorboards wherever possible. I quietly let the dog out of her room, give her water, and then move silently into the front room to do some yoga, meditation and Qi Gong.

That's how I describe my ninja-like transition through the house in the mornings. My wife sees it quite differently, "Is it actually possible you could make any more noise than you do?"

But, this morning it didn't matter. Yesterday being the hottest day of the year, meant last night was unbearably hot in the upstairs of the house. We bought an air conditioning unit several years ago to try and help with this, but it is the size of a small car and takes the superhuman strength of at least three people to manoeuvre it into place. It also requires a 6ft long piece of bendy tubing, a bit like a giant Slinky, to be draped out of the window to remove the heat from the room, but we have somehow managed to lose that. The point is, it was unbearably hot last night and we all struggled to get to sleep.

I seem to think I fell into something that might be recognised as sleep at about 4 am.

Above our bedroom is a flat roof. This flat roof also doubles as the local discotheque for, what sounds like, all the neighbourhood wildlife. They all meet there in the Summer at about 4.30 am. The pigeons bring the booze, the crows are in charge of cigarettes, the squirrels bring the music system, and then all kinds of hell breaks loose. This morning, from the sounds of it, I would estimate that there were approximately 300 animals giving it large, about 8ft above my head.

We had every window in the upstairs of the house open last night too, much to the dismay and horror of our two children, who have simultaneously developed an unhealthy hatred for what they call 'bugs'. I knew, selfishly, that this meant that that the early morning bird calls were likely to wake the kids up far too early, resulting in a day of tired, crabby, irritable children and my fun in the sunshine would be curtailed by the sound of whinging and moaning.

So, after I had masterfully crept downstairs at a ridiculously early hour, thanks to the rooftop rave brigade, I sat outside in the unusual warmth of the Mancunian Summer dawn and had my breakfast. I sat on the patio underneath my eldest daughter's bedroom and was pleasantly surprised to note that her curtains were still drawn which meant she had slept through the aforementioned illegal house party.

And then, it arrived.

I suddenly noticed the peaceful morning was being peppered with squawking and screeching. I looked around me but saw nothing. The sound continued, louder and more frequently. I looked up and there it was. The Penguin Pigeon.

I hadn't known such a thing existed until that moment, but there it was right before my eyes. The Penguin Pigeon. A pigeon so grossly overweight and also so tall that he stood on the edge of the roof towering over the house like a grotesque gargoyle.

He was a noisy fella too. Non-stop jibber-jabber. Squawk! Squawk! Squawk! Screeeeeeech!

There was something on his mind and he wanted to tell the whole world. He was like the town criers of the olden world, screaming his message for all to hear.

My immediate fear was that, in his birdy language, he was telling everyone, "There's an amazing rave on this rooftop every night, forevermore, tell your friends, tell everyone you know, you don't want to miss this!"

I snapped a photo of him to show the kids when they woke up, but I didn't need to. My eldest daughter appeared in the doorway, bog-eyed and grumpy, "What was that noise daddy? It woke me up." I pointed up to the roof but the sneaky, little bastard was gone. I got my phone out and showed her the picture. "Oh my god," she said. "What the heck is that thing?"

"It's The Penguin Pigeon," I replied nonchalantly.

"Is that really a thing?" she asked.

"Yeah, he runs an illegal nightclub on the roof of our house," I said.

"Oh right," she replied, seeming perfectly happy with my answer, before shuffling off into the kitchen to fetch her breakfast.

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