Day four of the Ch-ch-changes posts and I can now officially tell you the next piece of news. My next humorous novel Three Little Birds will be released on August 15th. There’s going to be quite a lot of excitement surrounding it but for now I’m just going to introduce you to one of my favourite characters in it … Bert the parrot.
Bert has been ‘borrowed’ from my friend Katie Phillips who I met on Facebook. Her wonderful parrot Bert won my heart with his antics. Katie often posts videos of him getting up to mischief. The first time I came across Bert, he was trying to talk to Lizzie Lamb’s parrot, the equally enigmatic Jasper on Facebook. Jasper gets a little name mention too.
I’m an absolute sucker for parrots and had to include one in my story. Bert in the book is modelled on the real Bert (as seen in these photos) and on two other parrots I know in Lanzarote. Both of them live outside during the day and imitate people, sing karaoke songs and perform all sorts of tricks. I am always amazed by their ability.
I have had a ‘thing’ about parrots for years and almost bought one from a market stall owner in Morocco when I lived there because it sat on my shoulder and made soft kissing noises in my ear.
I hope I’ve done Bert justice in the book and thank you, Katie. Oh, and thank you, Bert.
Back home, Charlie nipped next door to visit her neighbour Peggy. She regularly checked on Peggy to ensure she was looking after herself and that nothing had befallen her.
She tapped on the front door. There was a sound of shuffling feet and a clear-eyed elderly lady appeared. She was slight but there was an energy about her.
“Charlie! Belated Happy New Year! Come in. You’re just in time. Bert is going to perform.”
Charlie followed Peggy into her sitting room where she was greeted by a loud shrieking.
“Hello Bert. Gosh, what’s that you’ve got?”
“It’s a new comb. Bert got it from his friend Jasper in Australia. We’re just about to make a little video for Jasper, aren’t we, Bert? To say thank you.”
A green-blue Indian ringneck parrot, about the size of a cockatiel, sat perched upon a platform on top of a pole. He gripped a plastic comb in his claw and whistled loudly at Charlie.
“He’s always pleased to see you.”
“Hola,” said Bert. He dropped his comb onto the platform and carefully navigated the few small posts that served as stairs. He descended backwards until he reached the bottom post where he perched and whistled again.
“Hola, Bert. Got any new noises for me?”
Bert meowed like a cat then trilled like a telephone.
“Come on, Bert, let’s try a dog for Charlie,” said Peggy. “What does a dog say, Bert?”
Bert gave a convincing deep growl and a bark.
“Well done, Bert! That deserves a grape.”
Bert paced from one claw to the other, his head turning this way and that, as Charlie removed a small bag of red seedless grapes from a plastic shopping bag and passed a grape to Bert.
“Bert,” said Peggy “Say thank you.”
Bert made a kissing noise then took his grape in one claw and proceeded to eat it.
“He’s got three thousand friends on Facebook now,” said Peggy. “I thought I’d put up a brief video for them and let him show off his new comb. Bert loves the comb almost as much as the mini shopping trolley he got from Santa. He doesn’t push it yet but he enjoys rattling and shaking it, especially when we’re watching Deal or No Deal. Maybe he thinks Noel Edmunds should do a version of Supermarket Sweep. It’s an improvement on the noises Bert used to make when we watched Noel’s show. Every time someone opened a box and got a blue number, he tutted and then squawked.