We got our first budgie when I was about 10, I think. My sister Lisa was given the brilliant-blue Pip as a birthday present, and such was my envy of the hugely-charactered bird that I begged and begged for my very own budgie. But it had to be a she, and had to be lilac (I was on the cusp of my ongoing love affair with the colour purple).
Like Elizabeth Taylors’s eyes, you can also find purple budgies. And found one we did, in the form of Pippalina, who enjoyed a good few years of marriage to Pip, before he flew away after his door was accidentally left open and his cage hung up outside — but not before she had been found “sleeping” on the floor of the cage a year or two before. I like to think he went off in search of her, flying high over the gumtrees and fields of our farm.
We then hastened to get a replacement, and along came Spud. Or Sir General Spuderico of Puerto Rico, as Lisa and I dubbed him. Yellow-headed with a green body, while he was designed as a pet for both of us, I took more of a shine to him, and him to me, evidenced when I left home at the age of 18 (for the land of double decker buses and pre-shredded-and-bagged-lettuce), he learnt to say “where’s Katherine?” mournfully.
Oh, did I not mention previously that Spudgie could talk? He knew a good few phrases, such as:
“Talk to me!”
“Cup of tea, Spud?”
“Who’s a pretty boy?”
…And likely a few more, which I’ve since forgotten.
Hugely affectionate, he used to follow me around the house (we would leave the budgies’ cage doors open, so they could hop in and out as they pleased — hence the unfortunate disaster when Pip left us); running after my ankles on the floor, even though he could fly. He used to sit on the shower curtain rod as I’d shower, and swoop down onto my head to lick waterdrops from my forehead. If you were eating breakfast, he’d want to share — sat on your shoulder, he would crane his head forehead and demand a nibble of your slice of toast, or a slurp of your cereal milk.
Kind of disgusting, when I think back, but it was amazing what a little personality he was.
I’ll always remember receiving a distressed phonecall from Mum about three years ago (about five years after I left home, and had grown accustomed to hearing him chirp in the background of our weekly phonecalls), alerting me to his sad demise. At least it was old age, and at least he was festooned with love through his many years.
This budgie teatowel, on sale at Douglas + Bec for $38 NZD (£19), reminded me of how Spud would be at his most animated when we were washing the dishes at night. Probably thanks to the noise of the dishes clinking together, and the sight of himself in the window’s reflection glistening over the darkened farm beyond, he would chatter and chirp away so loud you could hear him at the other end of the rectangular-shaped house.
I’m a bit sad that the photo below is of the teatowel and the one above of the teatowel’s packaging — isn’t the top design, by Katherine Brickman, just beautiful? *Douglas + Bec, via Miss Moss*