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Since The Mom’s been travelling and when on the road has access to Crazy D’s old iPad which is not ideal for typing, she’s started doing these chain emails where she just writes to everyone at once. Which is great, because we all hit reply all and send back random bits of news. So I get to hear what’s going on directly from my siblings instead of through The Mom. In fact, everyone’s been enjoying it, so it appears it’s here to stay. Which is great.

Even greater is that The Mom’s bird feeder report has – because of this – reached new heights of absurdity. Delightfully absurd.

The Mom enjoys her back garden and all the weird and wonderful wildlife therein. And who wouldn’t? It’s positivity brimming with interesting creatures. But The Mom cannot possibly derive maximum enjoyment from all this bounty without sharing it with the rest of us. So she sends an email which the rest of us call the Bird Feeder report. It is, obviously, wherein she lists the birds she’s seen that day. Winter can be a dit dull, but summer – positively overflowing with life!

Sometime last week she emailed to say how she’d taken the indoor birds outside, and some bird had popped by to say hello. The next day, a woodpecker arrived and when I read the email I could tell how fast she was typing. Breathless she was.

Crazy D replied with his latest sighting of something interesting, and I, not to be outdone, reported that I’d seen a baby magpie being fed on the lawn at work.

Not to be outdone, Crazy D replied the next day saying something like: Saw five herons (swamp chickens).

I replied immediately with delight: Swamp chickens!! And Bingo!

And that was when bird bingo was born.

The rest of the week was a series of emails of bird one-upmanship: I saw five swans going down the river (Queen chickens), and then a few hours later Crazy D’s g/f piped up with a ridiculously long list of birds and giving all their chicken equivalencies. The best was probably penguins, which were not spotted but included so she could include: formal chickens. I did quibble slightly with seagulls (beach chickens) because over here seagulls would sooner eat your face, steal your chips/baby/dog than look at you, and so very reasonably suggested they are gangsta chickens.

We all have a habit of fixing the names of things so that they’re better. I don’t know when Crazy D decided that all birds were some kind of chicken, but my first recollection of this is when he’d come back from way up north almost the Arctic and said he’d seen a thing called a ptarmigan. Which he explained was a snow chicken. This obviously made absolute and perfect sense. Why it didn’t catch on immediately is unclear.

Anyhow, after Crazy D’s g/f’s epic list, it was roundly declared that they had indeed won bird bingo. As evidenced by the fact that they replied all shouting BINGO! The Mom was not impressed, which I can understand: you accidentally invent a game, you expect to win.

I fear I may well lose out as I don’t see many birds up here – though I do occasionally get pigeons (hobo chickens) who look like they’re ready and willing to finally come inside and become my new pals. (I mean, I’ve got two sofas now so they wouldn’t even have had to share). But that’s about it.

L’il Sis had been quiet during this rousing new game, and then yesterday finally piped up with a total winner: plain brown sparrow on a statue of the Pope. Which I think takes things up a notch.

I’m thinking about commissioning her soon-to-be-husband to make up actual playing cards, with birds as chicken equivalencies, and possibly in absurd circumstances, just to see how far we can go with this. I suspect we will reach way too far very, very soon.