NORMAN - The Kestrel with Attitude
This was previously on Ann's Page

Jen and I have been friends for many years, ever since we sat at adjacent desks at work for nearly 4 years. As she said afterwards, we were either going to end up good friends or killing each other! She's given me, Spock and Dracs a lot of help and encouragement with "The Diary".

Recently Jen and I went to the Northumberland County Show. We enjoyed looking at all the farm animals and going round the hundreds of stalls that were there. There was a large display ring where a number of events took place. Our favourite one was the falconry display which was just finishing as we arrived. The trainer was telling a packed stand about his final bird, Norman the kestrel, who was sitting innocently on a helper's arm as we found a gap in the crowd by the side of the field. At a sign from the trainer Norman ruffled his feathers and flew off, "Quite normal" said the trainer, "they always do that just before they take to the air. He's flying around now and having a look at the countryside, we always encourage them to stretch their wings and have a look around when we're working with them at home - Here Norman - when he comes back, I'll try and stop him from getting to the food, we'll see how long I can keep it from him - Whistle, Here Norm - notice the shape of the wings, the pointed ends, typical of a kestrel - Whistle, Whistle, Norman, Norm, Here - oh look, he's found a seagull, they're having a game together, sorry those of you sitting in the stand, it's all happening behind you so you can't actually see any of this - Norman, Here Norm, we haven't got all day! - he'll be back shortly to get his food - Whistle, Whistle, Norm, Here! - sorry about that folks, the whistle's very piercing, I hope I haven't deafened any of you. I'll tell you a little bit about the history of falconry while we're waiting."

(This was punctuated by numerous whistles and cries of "Norm, Norm, come here".)

"The seagull's flown off at last, - Norm! Norman, Here! - he's heading away from the trees, he'll come back now, I'll try and get him to come down for his food - Norman, Norm, Come Here! - those of you in the stand can see him again now, he's up there in the distance, to the right of you - Norm, Here Norm! - oh dear, he's heading off in the opposite direction, I don't think he can be very hungry - NORM! - I'm, very sorry everyone, I'm afraid I'm going to have to give up the demonstration and go and get him." (By this time, Norman was about 6 fields away and a tiny speck in the middle distance.) "We'll be back again at 4 pm for another demonstration."

The heavens opened shortly before 4 pm and we had a series of thunderstorms, so we weren't unduly surprised when Norman didn't make his second appearance, although we did spare a thought for the trainer, soaking wet and knee deep in mud, in the middle of a field somewhere in the Northumbrian countryside.

I'll soon find Norman for you!



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