Close friends of ours who moved back from London round about the same time we left Sweden recently bought themselves a beautiful house in Hout Bay with a moody mountain view and a handsome resident peacock. Having your own peacock strutting around on the the lawn at braais while all your friends go oh my god and post pics on instagram is fun for a while, but the fabulousness wears thin when, every day at 4am, the peacock takes it upon himself to perch high on a branch in his favourite tree and call out to all the valley that he’s in the mood for love. Especially since he is the only peacock in the whole of the republic and he has to make his voice travel very far to be heard by maiden birds across the miles.
Nobody likes to be woken up day after day by squawking, least of all the anaesthetist neighbor who really can’t afford to be groggy of a morning. So, a meeting of the neighbourhood was called to try to find a solution to the problem of the pining peacock. While words like ketties and shotguns were grumpily uttered, my friends’ next-door-neighbour is a fanatical animal lover and was aghast at the suggestion that any harm should come to this gorgeous creature. Instead, she offered to call in an animal behaviourist who would communicate with the peacock, explain the situation to him and try and reach some kind of compromise which would allow the humans and the bird to live peaceably together.
So, the animal behaviourist contacts Don the peacock (he told her his name, obviously) and they have a chat about this problem and she records his thoughts and feelings in an email which she then shares with all concerned. Unfortunately, as Don ‘tells’ his human co-habitants, he isn’t actually that keen on changing his M.O. He likes living in Hout Bay, he enjoys the human contact and since it’s imperative that he finds love at this stage of his life, he won’t be stopping his mating call anytime soon. Nor moving it to a later time slot because that doesn’t suit his schedule. In other words, tough titties for you. At that, the animal behaviourist explains to him that the consequences might well be dire, but Don takes it on beak and is willing to accept his uncertain fate.
Happily for everyone – especially Don – ketties and shotguns were never needed as, before things reached a head, the lonesome Casanova was relocated to Clovelly where peahens are plentiful, and in the shagging department this dashing fellow is now positively spoilt for choice. The anaesthetist is happy, as I’m sure are his patients, and while Don’s show-offy presence is missed at gatherings, everyone’s getting a good night’s sleep which is rather more important. And it’s just one of those insane stories that wouldn’t happen in too many other parts of the world, but it’s kind of par for the course down here in the wildest of wild wests where you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.