James Hadfield-Hyde

My dead Ostrich

"One day, before leaving, Gina came to me and informed me that one of the male Ostriches in the other field was looking decidedly peaky. The problem with birds is that they require stones in their intake of food to assist with their digestion. With the absence of teeth, they build stones in the gut to help grind the food. Nobody seems to know the reason, but sometimes they overfill the gut, it prevents the digestion completely and they die very quickly.

It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Within the hour, I was due to interview some prospective tenants for a Flat we rented out, in the rear wing of the Hall. The Ostrich paddock was close by and I didn’t think it would bode well for them to find an Ostrich with its legs in the air, outside their door. A three hundred pound dead Ostrich takes quite a bit of manoeuvring, and I called on Vanessa to assist with its rapid removal. With much pushing and shoving and the long neck flopping all over the place, the dead carcass was going nowhere. Vanessa did a lot of crying and I did a lot of shouting and swearing. I then came up with Plan B. The day before, I’d bought a new washing machine and still had the large cardboard box it came in. By putting the open box on its side we could get the bird in it and this made it easier to slide the box over the wet grass. Just when we thought we’d successfully got it to the steps of the kitchen, the box fell apart, and to make things worse, rigor mortis had set in, with the legs in the ten to two position. This caused a real problem, as the outstretched legs were wider than the kitchen door! Mustering all of my strength and with one leg in my shoulder and both my arms forcing the other closed, I managed to get the corpse into the kitchen. The doorbell went as the carcass tumbled down the cellar steps and into the wine cellar. Mr. and Mrs Bigelow were greeted warmly as if nothing was untoward!"


An extract form 'Lust, for life'