(No geese were harmed in the making of this post)
In April 2012 my wife and I attended a literary festival in Scarborough. We networked with various authors as we were staying in the same hotel as most of them. When I say "networked" I mean I looked on in awe of them in the breakfast room and the bar in the evening. Andy Kershaw had a book out at the time and he got through at least one massive “full English” at the table next to us whilst slurping tea and tapping into a laptop. My literary "career" was very much still at it's nascent stage so without having a published book myself to talk about I felt somewhat out of my depth.
On a sunny spring Saturday afternoon we decided to venture out to Peasholm Park in a quieter part of the town. In the centre of the park is an island with a waterfall and one linking bridge. This looked very becoming so I was eager to explore further. As we crossed the bridge there were some hastily written warning signs that the island was currently home to nesting Canada geese which could be very aggressive.
As I am a real man I disregarded this as poppycock so we continued onto the island and up a steep curved path towards the top of the waterfall. Around halfway up there were a couple of geese just to the right of the path on a grassed area. As we drew level with them one approached me and hissed menacingly. I laughed in its beaky face and used a vulgar turn of phrase towards the angry goose, that’s “f* off” to you and me, and continued up to the waterfall not realising at the time that this goose had well and truly marked my card and was now biding it's time safe in the knowledge that his moment would come again.
After spending time in some beautiful gardens we made our way back. As there only appeared to be one path in and out from the gardens back down to the bridge, we re-traced our steps. Half way down I noticed the same 2 geese again. One was female and nesting. However, her husband, that I had the run in with earlier, was now standing tall in the middle of the path. He was wearing an expression of "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough Manc knobhead".
As we got closer he took a couple of steps towards me and reared up, flapping his wings and spitting in the most hideous fashion. His body language was screaming "You're not laughing now are yer" " Tell me where to go did yer?!" "I'm going nowhere!". The stand off continued for another minute or so. He wasn't backing down. I took a step to the right and he did the same. I took a step to the left and same again. All the time he was flapping and spitting. His tongue was serpent-like.
I decided I wasn't going to be beaten by a stupid devil goose! I made one more attempt to pass him then he lurched at me. I “ducked” out of the way of his satanic beak. I took a few further steps back and was so wound up I considered hitting him in self defence but quickly noticed there were various signs nearby indicating we were on CCTV.
I could vision the headlines in The Scarborough Herald, "Mancunian Madman Punches Goose In Beak". I accepted defeat so we headed back up the path the way we came. As I looked behind me, my nemesis followed us a few steps and was straining his neck forward in some kind of parting shot.
As we got further away he stopped, then returned to his nesting goose wife.
We eventually found another path avoiding the Canadian goose thug and were able to escape unscathed.
Back at the hotel that evening I did consider sharing this tale with the writers in the bar but decided to avoid losing any writer‘s credibility before it had even started, so instead used my well worn avoidance tactics and ate a packet of dry roasted peanuts and went upstairs to watch Match of the Day.
It's all true. I fully understand this was natural behaviour from the geese concerned. However, when you have a crazed goose flying at you with razor sharp teeth, self defence is paramount.