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“The Fan”

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Bush pilots know the feeling – away from home for weeks or months and then back to being “Mr Fix it” during an R & R break.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the “mechanics car” syndrome was similar at most helicopter pilot’s home – lots of unfinished work around the house and garden.


The girls were about 7 and 10 when I fitted the ceiling fans in the house.

What refreshing luxury those revolving air movers were during the warm summer months. Simply luxury.


No 2 daughter’s 21st birthday was a real opener to all of us.

I learnt which one of them actually crashed the family car about 5 years before and they learnt about the budgie.

I have forgiven them about the car – but the legend of the budgie still lives on.

She who must be obeyed loved to read the kids stories at night and those two ankle biters drank in every word she said.

Being a direct descendant from the venerable Scottish poet – Sir Walter Scott – she was eloquent and elegant with words and speech.

I remember when we first married that I thought we would make a fortune when her heritage kicked in and the money from her writings and poetry started flooding into our bank account from the far corners of the earth.


50 years + on I’m still waiting - no poems or stories as yet.


I was outside one evening after starting a two day job building a patio - which I nearly completed four years later and now 30 years later I've just finished.

She who must be obeyed was reading to the kids in their bedroom.

Suddenly an unearthly scream echoed throughout the neighbourhood.

“The budgie has hit the fan!!!!”

I rushed inside to see the kids sobbing on the bed and a big ring shaped blood spatter at fan height around the room.

Yep – they all forgot about that new fan when they let their pet bird out to hear the story with them.


Being used to fixing things out west with number 8 fencing wire and chewing gum I figured I’d better calm the situation down.

I couldn’t see the budgie and the blood spatter around the room at fan level suggested that it couldn’t have flown away as it would have been empty of the red stuff.


Grabbing a chair I found the budgie completely dead, head and body separately flung up on top of a wardrobe.

So, operating with the ingenuity of a Las Vegas illusionist,  I pushed the head back in place, put my thumb behind it, wrapped a handkerchief around its neck and said: “ Look - no worries – its only got a bleeding nose” and wiggled the lifeless head up and down with my thumb.

The crying stopped.


Until that fateful 21st birthday, those kids believed that the budgie went to the budgie hospital instead of over the fence into the neighbour’s garden.

True story







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