My wife has a theory that our baby is reluctant to leave the womb as she is worried about the current state of the sterling.
”I'm not sure that she's actually aware of the current financial crisis facing Britain" I say.
"But the pound is doing so badly against the (Hungarian) forint!", she worriedly explains. "It's not good!"
I'm still not convinced.
"What if my worries about the financial climate are being projected on to her?" she continues. I guess this makes a little bit more sense. Maybe.
I try to reassure her. ”Look, babies are late all the time. Just because she's decided to hang around in your womb it doesn't mean that she’s scared. Take it as a compliment. I'm sure lots of people would rather be in your uterus. It would be the perfect place to avoid reading headlines from The Daily Mail.”
Just at this moment there's a noise on our terrace. My wife doesn't hear it, but I do, probably due to my newly acquired heightened senses of alertness. I pick up a pencil as a weapon and go and investigate. It's a pigeon. A dying pigeon sitting on the floor of our terrace. I think how lucky it is for any prospective burglars that this is a pigeon and not a burglar, as this pencil has been freshly sharpened.
"There's a pigeon on our terrace." I say. "I think it's dying.”
My wife appears by my side, munching her way through a pineapple (in a desperate attempt to get the baby packing).
"Yes. It's definitely dying.” she confirms, before adding, "What are you going to do about it?"
"What am I going to do about it?" I fire back.
"Well are you going to strangle it?" she asks.
"What!? No! Why would I strangle the pigeon? I'm not the kind of guy who goes around strangling pigeons willy nilly!” But it occurs to me at this moment, that I am the kind of guy who uses the expression 'willy nilly'.
Only seconds later, the pigeon breathes a dramatic last breath and then face plants firmly in to the concrete. I am sad for the pigeon, but also incredibly relieved that I don't have to throttle it.
"What now?" my wife asks. She’s full of questions today.
I think for a moment before replying, "I guess I'll put it in the bin.”
I go to the cupboard under the sink where we happen to store all of our plastic bags/pigeon coffins. I peruse the options on display before spotting the perfect choice. The pigeon may have suffered a sorrowful death, but at least she will find peace in an ornate, see-thru Aldi carrier bag at the bottom of a Sulo bin. A tomb fit for a pigeon king.
I make my way back outside and carefully place the dead pigeon in to its discount chain coffin, using a used orange juice carton as a makeshift prodding device to confirm death.
With the pigeon in the bag, accompanied by the orange juice carton, I leave the flat and begin my journey to the bin. I decide to use the lift as I'm feeling hot and lazy. The door is about to close when a foot appears, blocking the door's closure. It is our neighbour, an old Hungarian man who doesn't speak English.
I look at the freshly dead pigeon in the see-thru carrier bag and simply think, ”Shit!” I have never shared this lift with anyone except my wife, but fate has chosen this particular moment to alter this statistic.
The old man gets in and smiles at me. I try to hide the bag, but it's too late. He has seen the pigeon. He looks puzzled. I frantically scroll through my brain to see if I know any Hungarian that can help explain my situation. I've been learning an hour a day for the last six weeks and I'm getting much better. Sadly though I haven't yet covered the topic of pigeon deaths and bin burials. I also really wish I knew the Hungarian for "I don't usually shop at Aldi.” So I simply smile awkwardly, shrug my shoulders and say "Pigeon", loudly and in English. It is horrible, but at least we only have two floors to go.
On the first floor the elevator stops again, unexpectedly. Three smiling Hungarian women enter. They look at the strange Brit carrying a dead pigeon in a see-thru, Aldi carrier bag and their smiles drop.
I wish I was back in the womb.