Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Pigeon

In the German language, it’s hard to know whether someone’s talking about a pigeon, or a dove.

Being an international symbol of love and peace, doves are the high fliers of the family. But auf Deutsch, they’re unfortunately burdened with the same name as their feral brothers.

In Brighton, you tend to come across two types of winged pests:

  • Very big, vicious birds: these are the seagulls
  • Smaller, dirty birds: these are the pigeons

For a while I was unsure which type was munching all my seedlings until I caught this ugly fellow on my windowsill one morning, waiting:

Here’s what my neighbours decided to do about it (ow!):

So this week I commenced on this slightly subtler method of protecting my strawberries:

I was happy to find a copy of The Pigeon, in Oxfam on London Road around a year ago. It’s a novella by Patrick Sueskind, whose Das Parfum I had enjoyed reading on the S-bahn to Marienfelde when I was a Praktikantin there.

The Pigeon is a frightening book centred on a shy security guard whose descent into madness is hastened by a pigeon roosting outside his door.

Say what you like about the book focussing on themes of loneliness, obsession and lack of control over one’s life; faced with a pigeon constantly standing watch outside, I would also be tempted to leave my flat nevermore.

Sueskind now lives a reclusive life in Bavaria. I would be willing to bet that this followed a disagreeable encounter with a pigeon in his youth.

They’re horrible.


  1. Mmm Erdebeeren!!!
    Übrigens! Wie läuft dein Garten???

  2. I never knew there's a difference between doves and pigeons - thanks for pointing that out!

    Great blog, all best for the garden.