My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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British Isles Friday: Parakeets in the Park

Parakeets in the Park

On a beautiful day in May, 2017 my husband and I walked through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. It’s really not that easy to tell where one ends and the other begins. We were looking for the Peter Pan statue (next week’s post) when we came across a small clearing cluttered with people holding their arms in the air, offering perches for surprisingly green birds fluttering in the air. Parakeets, and so prevalent, and with so many people standing about in their midst I stupidly assumed this must be some sort of birder club gathering. Ding dong me! I didn’t know the birds were wild and the people were just regular folks like us trying to get a better look. 

Doing a little post-trip homework I discovered the parakeets are so abundant in the park—and the inner mile they’re actually considered a bit of a nuisance by some people! I wish I’d known before the trip that all I had to do was bring a slice of apple and I could get the birds to land on me too!

I thought this woman had the magic touch. I think she just had apples.

According to the Londonist ‘‘The birds are obviously not indigenous to Britain, but nobody really knows how they got here. Some say they escaped a film set, or were released in the Great Storm of 1987. Rumours that Jimi Hendrix set free a breeding pair on Carnaby Street as part of a swinging 60s stunt are untrue — at least according to his girlfriend of the time, Kathy Etchingham.”

If you’re going to London and want to see the parakeets, here’s how the Londonist says to get there. (My husband and I took a much more winding roundabout path)
1. Leave the tube at Lancaster Gate (Central line).
2. Buy an apple from Hyde Park Superstore. It is not a superstore, but it does sell nice apples, and the fellow behind the counter was pleasant.
3. Cross the road into Kensington Gardens. Follow the path along the right-hand side of the lake until you pass the Peter Pan statue.
4. A few paces further on, you'll find a notice board about the wildlife. It does not mention the most obvious, green, squawksome wildlife.
5. At the sign, head right, towards the nearest set of bushes and trees.
6. Reveal your apple.
7. You will be covered in parakeets about 2.3 seconds later. And possibly a pigeon.

Have you seen the parakeets in the park? Aren’t they spectacular?

Hook up with Joy Weese Moll’s British Isles Friday meme for more British-themed posts.


  1. Ha! Good to know. We head to London next week. I'll buy an apple and see if I can find them.
    Thanks for all your support as we attempt this life change. I haven't been around much, but I'll try harder.

  2. I've been meaning to write about this, with a similar headline, for ages; but your photos are better than mine and you've undoubtedly done a better job on the text too. I didn't know about the apples! They certainly make a lot of noise. I also wrote about the Peter Pan statue on another blog and keep meaning to re-post it - but obviously won't for awhile. Amazing - I lived and worked in and around London for years and never saw either the birds or the statue until fairly recently, on a visit. You're right, it's not easy to tell where Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens start/end!

  3. I loved our day in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, but totally missed the parakeets.


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