Posted by Glyn Wade

Okay so here’s part three of my Every Picture Tells a 1000 words series….and I have checked Phil….it is exactly ONE THOUSAND! Again I have chosen one of my own pictures, well she does keep cropping up on here!

Burslem angel

Burslem angel

‘My arms are getting tired’ she said to no-one in particular.

‘MY ARMS ARE GETTING TIRED!!’ she screamed into the bitterly cold wind that howled through her wreath.


‘So? Could be worse.’ came a voice from behind her.

‘Worse?’ she questioned.

‘Indeed’ came the voice again.

‘If you’re attempting to communicate with me would you be so kind as to show yourself?’ stated the angel. There were many disadvantages to being a statue and being unable to turn your head was up there near the top of the list.

After a few seconds of silence a pigeon landed on her outstretched arm and tilted its head to the side as it appeared to stare deep into her eyes. She tried to look away but was held transfixed….well she was a statue after all and they aren’t exactly known for their rapid eye movements. The pigeon straightened its head and said,

‘Well?’ then waited patiently for a response. Then waited some more while it kept tilting its head to the side.

Now statues, even talking ones are not used to being spoken to at all, particularly when they are perched atop buildings where public access is somewhat frowned upon to say the least. Of course there are statues at ground level that are constantly shouted at and mocked but they generally affect an air of nonchalance. Statues just sort of stay still and take the flack (and the occasional traffic cone balanced on them) and get on with things while attempting not to take it personally. Being as they are merely representations of whomever they were modelled on I guess they couldn’t really take it personally anyway.

But statues, as far as the Burslem Angel knew, had never been spoken to by a pigeon. It was definitely words rather than cooing that was emanating from the beak of this feathered marvel. And she definitely understood it. Which was confusing in itself as she’d never known language before.

Now, as confused as the Angel was, imagine the confusion for our new friend the pigeon. He’d been flying around for a year or two now making the customary noises that pigeons make while going about his business of eating up the food detritus left around his adopted town then transforming it into something less edible and defecating it back onto those that had dropped the thing in the first place. And thus continued the cycle of life….for a pigeon anyway.

The pigeon, who we shall called Speckled Jim in honour of an episode of Blackadder, had heard strange noises coming from the detritus droppers but had no idea that they meant anything. Nothing inanimate had ever made a sound of its own accord. Until now. Then there was the fact that there were these odd sounds coming from its own beak and there was huge confusion all round.

There was a few minutes silence while both regarded each other and indeed themselves with levels of suspicion normally reserved for politicians and then they both went to speak at once. Both, as if startled by their own sounds as well as their compadres in communication, stopped and only the sound of blustery wind and distant sounds of traffic permeated the air again.

Breaking the latest uncomfortable silence the pigeon said,

‘My name is Speckled Jim.’

‘But you’re not speckled’ said the statue.

‘Oh’ said the pigeon ‘yeah, what a silly name. I wonder where that came from.’ A pause ‘So what’s your name?’

‘Nike’ said the statue.

‘Like the trainers?’ asked the pigeon confused.

‘Noooooo!!’ exclaimed the goddess, ‘like the goddess.’

‘The goddess of trainers?’ asked the pigeon confused.

‘What are trainers?’

And so it went on.

And on.

And on.

Until exactly one month, seventeen days, four hours and 26 seconds later (the pigeon had taken food breaks, or ‘cycle of life’ breaks as he liked to call them) they suddenly said something that made sense. At the same time. Now the chances of that happening had been calculated by a passing sparrow as the same probability as the Hubble telescope reflecting a shaft of light down to earth at the same time as One Direction taking the stage and causing them to spontaneously combust while the opening chords of them doing a cover of Burning Down The House rang around the auditorium.

But it happened anyway and it took the sparrow so much by surprise that he turned his head slightly. Well he was just outside Blythe Bridge by then and couldn’t hear anything of what was going on back in Burslem so maybe it was just that he’d spotted a juicy worm; but that’s not the point.

The point was that both Nike incorrectly labelled an angel and the sparrow incorrectly called Speckled Jim had both uttered those immortal words of incredible common sense at the same time. Waves of improbability rolled out across the cosmos and causality snowballed out of all proportion with causes and effects colliding in abject wantonness. In short the universe spiralled out of control. If this could happen, what couldn’t? So it did.

At Chester Zoo a whole pride of lions turned themselves into jelly, squeezed through the bars, turned back into lions then proceeded to ballet dance with elephants, who had turned into slow moving traffic. And that was pretty much the most easily explained thing of all which doesn’t bode well for you understanding what else was going on.

The most difficult event to explain involved the inside air of seven toilet rolls, an invisible wombat, four flying llamas of tarmac and a lemon shaped like Lemmy from Motorhead riding a butternut squash. After that it got rather more confusing and putting it into words would involve inventing a whole new dictionary made out of chips with no vinegar thanks.

So you see that when the pigeon and the statue in Burslem both uttered, at the same time,

‘This is a bit weird isn’t it?’ things would never be quite the same again.