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Ken Fyne: Are you the pigeon or the statue?

Ken says sometimes we are the statue, and other times we are the pigeon.
Ken says sometimes we are the statue, and other times we are the pigeon.

Sometimes you’re the statue, and sometimes you’re the pigeon.

Daily life has an annoying tendency to display a contrary streak which means you can go in an instant from being on a pinnacle of achievement to being up to your neck in the nasty sticky stuff that rarely forms the basis of conversation at a vicar’s tea party.

Best laid plans can “gang aft agley” in seconds. Those who have been scrambling to find a flight home from Portugal after the Covid goalposts moved during their holiday there would testify to that. I bet they’re wishing they could get teleported home rather than having to panic-buy last-minute flights.

Maybe Moray man Mark Donald, who has spent years transforming his garden into a homage to Star Wars, could assist by offering some futuristic transporter trips from Faro to Forres?

No, probably not. It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

Mark Donald and his daughters with the Star Wars museum he has created in his back garden in Forres. 

Plans going wrong must also be a problem for the mighty wild salmon. This beautiful fish is king of Scottish rivers, revered, respected and drawing more “oohs and aahs” from those who spot one leaping than a gathering of mums cooing over a new baby.

I’m not sure what the collective noun for a group of young mums is. Could it be a beauty? A gossip? A powerhouse? A hassle? I’ll leave you to come up with your own ideas.

Note to all dads: tread carefully on making your suggestions known to your significant other. Missiles, or Mrs-iles, could be heading your way if you get it wrong.

Still, back to the fish. As I said, the sleek, stylish, slippery salmon, and their sea-trout cousins, are truly majestic and top of the heap. Until they swim round Chanonry Point on the Black Isle, that is, where a fleet of hungry dolphins awaits them. The celebrated fish are transformed from hunter to hunted.

Mrs F and I were treated to a breathtaking display of dynamic dolphinaria last weekend after we went for a wee drive round her native Highlands. We walked down to Chanonry lighthouse from Rosemarkie in warm evening sunshine and joined dozens of others enjoying a spectacular show from these magnificent mammals behaving like Scottish football fans enjoying a thumping win over England at Wembley. Note to self: keep taking the reality pills.

A bottlenose dolphin swallows a wild salmon in the Moray Firth near Inverness.

Dolphins must surely employ a brilliantly talented PR company which any politician would crave as they seem to be universally popular with the public despite being mercilessly brutal in their pursuit of food and fun.

One day folk marvel at salmon leaping, the next they’re delighted to see dolphins devouring them. From pigeon to statue, you might say.

We’d had a fine drive over the weekend, away from the recognised tourist trails, enjoying single-track roads with gorgeous views, but I was especially entertained by the variety of methods used by drivers to acknowledge the courtesy of stopping in a passing place to allow others to proceed. There were more types of waves here than in a surfboard salesman’s catalogue.

Mrs F favours using the full side-to-side cheery wave you would deploy when arriving at a friend’s house, but in return came a wide range and variety of alternatives. Among them was the Frisbee Thrower, gratefully demonstrated by hard-pressed locals, such as bus drivers and posties, which involved propelling the wrist forward, as though throwing a frisbee, then shaking it vigorously. It’s a cheery gesture, too.

What kind of wave do you like to give other drivers?

Then there was the Highland Hitler, flipping the wrist backwards and upwards with the palm showing forwards. The all-too common Grumpy Grouch, commonly demonstrated by visitors, involved raising the hand slowly in a pathetically limp gesture that had no genuine feeling about it.

Then came the Digital Droid, favoured by toffee-nosed 4×4 drivers, who just managed almost imperceptibly to raise a single digit barely a centimetre off the wheel, grudgingly acknowledging the presence of an inferior being in a clearly subservient vehicle to their own.

For those others who motored myopically madly staring fixatedly through the spokes of their steering wheels and failed to offer any appreciation of courteous driving, I was happy to respond with my universally recognised Harvey Smith.

Often I’m the statue, but just occasionally I’m the pigeon.