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Bird Poop Issues? Believe me, they could be worse ...


Rabbers
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Driving through central Rome this last weekend I found myself passing the spot where, some thirty years ago, I discovered how the memory of spectacularly bad deposits of bird poop seen on other people's cars might in future lessen my anger at finding normal-sized ones on mine.  Memories of this sort are not easy to translate into polite prose, but I thought I would make the effort, starting with apologies to the squeamish.

Rome is not car-friendly at the best of times, and can be even less so in the autumn when the sky is occasionally darkened by flocks of starlings (known to ornithologists as "murmurations") whose ability to copiously defecate while flying in tight formation is boosted by an evident fondness for the local food.  Their route south for the winter follows the river out to sea, with the result that cars parked along its banks become seasonal targets for heavy faecal bombardment.  Although the flocks are getting smaller, supposedly as the effect of climate change on migration habits, their collective firepower remains impressive, especially to its victims.

One October evening my wife and I were enjoying a riverside stroll when we spotted a small crowd of people up ahead.  On investigation, we found them to be gaping in a mixture of incredulity and awe at a row of five cars covered in a layer of fresh starling poop so thick as to be prompting earnest conversations about what makes and models were underneath.  Picture, if you can, five car-sized mounds of greyish-green organic compost merging to form a single gigantic turd.  And nor was this brutal assault on the senses confined to the eyes and nostrils, for the entire feculent spectacle was accompanied, indeed reinforced, by a continuum of trickling and plopping sounds interspersed with gaseous hisses and random discharges of varying duration and intensity.  To the merriment of some of the more callous onlookers the owner of one of the cars duly appeared, his walk slowing and his distress building as he drew closer.  Eventually, after hyperventilating loudly and alarmingly for several long minutes, he took a final deep breath and pointed a limp finger towards a barely intelligible VW logo on the hubcap of a partially exposed wheel.  Ashen-faced and still in a visible state of shock, he then stumbled off whence he came in search of a shovel or, more probably, a stiff drink and a quiet place to weep as a prelude to trauma counselling.  Now formally identified as a German classic, his car was promptly dubbed a "Dung Beetle" by a wit in the crowd.

In the course of the next few days all the cars were removed except one, which, as the weeks went by, gradually developed a leathery crust and an iridescent sheen from oily traffic fumes.  Hoping, no doubt, that a willingness to tackle biohazards without protective clothing would lead to career advancement, a traffic warden succeeded in scraping enough slime off a numberplate to enable him to write the first of a growing sheaf of daily parking tickets.  These he carefully tucked into cracks below the bulges where he guessed the wipers to be, thus definitively consolidating his status as the most hated man in the neighbourhood.  After month or so, by which time it had featured on local TV and was beginning to compete with nearby antiquities as a tourist attraction, the heap was removed under cover of night by a special task force from the city's sanitation department with a view, one presumed, to its immediate incineration since there was no way any owner would have wanted to be reunited with it.  When I drove past after almost three decades I was amazed to see that the spot it occupied has remained demarcated by a small ridge of petrified excrement so evidently resistant to chemical and mechanical treatment as to ensure the puzzlement of future generations of archaeologists.  Perhaps this post will illuminate their researches.

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6 minutes ago, Rabbers said:

Driving through central Rome this last weekend I found myself passing the spot where, some thirty years ago, I discovered how the memory of spectacularly bad deposits of bird poop seen on other people's cars might in future lessen my anger at finding normal-sized ones on mine.  Memories of this sort are not easy to translate into polite prose, but I thought I would make the effort, starting with apologies to the squeamish.

Rome is not car-friendly at the best of times, and can be even less so in the autumn when the sky is occasionally darkened by flocks of starlings (known to ornithologists as "murmurations") whose ability to copiously defecate while flying in tight formation is boosted by an evident fondness for the local food.  Their route south for the winter follows the river out to sea, with the result that cars parked along its banks become seasonal targets for heavy faecal bombardment.  Although the flocks are getting smaller, supposedly as the effect of climate change on migration habits, their collective firepower remains impressive, especially to its victims.

One October evening my wife and I were enjoying a riverside stroll when we spotted a small crowd of people up ahead.  On investigation, we found them to be gaping in a mixture of incredulity and awe at a row of five cars covered in a layer of fresh starling poop so thick as to be prompting earnest conversations about what makes and models were underneath.  Picture, if you can, five car-sized mounds of greyish-green organic compost merging to form a single gigantic turd.  And nor was this brutal assault on the senses confined to the eyes and nostrils, for the entire feculent spectacle was accompanied, indeed reinforced, by a continuum of trickling and plopping sounds interspersed with gaseous hisses and random discharges of varying duration and intensity.  To the merriment of some of the more callous onlookers the owner of one of the cars duly appeared, his walk slowing and his distress building as he drew closer.  Eventually, after hyperventilating loudly and alarmingly for several long minutes, he took a final deep breath and pointed a limp finger towards a barely intelligible VW logo on the hubcap of a partially exposed wheel.  Ashen-faced and still in a visible state of shock, he then stumbled off whence he came in search of a shovel or, more probably, a stiff drink and a quiet place to weep as a prelude to trauma counselling.  Now formally identified as a German classic, his car was promptly dubbed a "Dung Beetle" by a wit in the crowd.

In the course of the next few days all the cars were removed except one, which, as the weeks went by, gradually developed a leathery crust and an iridescent sheen from oily traffic fumes.  Hoping, no doubt, that a willingness to tackle biohazards without protective clothing would lead to career advancement, a traffic warden succeeded in scraping enough slime off a numberplate to enable him to write the first of a growing sheaf of daily parking tickets.  These he carefully tucked into cracks below the bulges where he guessed the wipers to be, thus definitively consolidating his status as the most hated man in the neighbourhood.  After month or so, by which time it had featured on local TV and was beginning to compete with nearby antiquities as a tourist attraction, the heap was removed under cover of night by a special task force from the city's sanitation department with a view, one presumed, to its immediate incineration since there was no way any owner would have wanted to be reunited with it.  When I drove past after almost three decades I was amazed to see that the spot it occupied has remained demarcated by a small ridge of petrified excrement so evidently resistant to chemical and mechanical treatment as to ensure the puzzlement of future generations of archaeologists.  Perhaps this post will illuminate their researches.

It's breakfast time here in the UK do you think your next missive can be deferred until the afternoon? 😂

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2 hours ago, Phil xxkr said:

It's breakfast time here in the UK do you think your next missive can be deferred until the afternoon? 😂

Yes, I’m sorry.  That was very insensitive of me.  The post was not at all suited to a Full English and barely tolerable with a Continental.  But I still think it was more instructive than the back of a Kellogg’s packet.

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8 minutes ago, Rabbers said:

Yes, I’m sorry.  That was very insensitive of me.  The post was not at all suited to a Full English and barely tolerable with a Continental.  But I still think it was more instructive than the back of a Kellogg’s packet.

Well Renato, I have been exposed to so called Continental breakfasts where the texture was indicernable from the packet cornflakes come in🤣

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1 hour ago, Phil xxkr said:

Well Renato, I have been exposed to so called Continental breakfasts where the texture was indicernable from the packet cornflakes come in🤣

That reminds me of a time in the UK when the ungodliness of the hour or the dictates of nature  would cause one to pull into places called “The Happy Eater” and reluctantly partake of the “All-Day Breakfast”.  Never in the field of culinary endeavour has a business been less aptly named.  You went in happy and came out feeling borderline suicidal.

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25 minutes ago, Rabbers said:

That reminds me of a time in the UK when the ungodliness of the hour or the dictates of nature  would cause one to pull into places called “The Happy Eater” and reluctantly partake of the “All-Day Breakfast”.  Never in the field of culinary endeavour has a business been less aptly named.  You went in happy and came out feeling borderline suicidal.

At least it was warm 😁. And of course the name wasn't a reference to you, the customer, it was for the business owner who was happy to find an eater who would pay so much for so little in return 🤣🤣🤣

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i had a similar experience when touring South Africa in the 70's. Just south of Durban and nowhere to park i found a six vacant space under some trees near the beach. Left the car and went to bed.  Locals new why nobody parked there at night. The trees were fig trees and frequented at night by fruit bats. In the morning i returned to find the car looking like the dog car out of dumb and dumber. It was Sunday morning, no car wash open in town and a real mess. Drove round to the Hertz hire place, which was closed and found a hose pipe so washed it off. Sorry to say left their forecourt less than tidy.

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