Dawn Chorus and the case of the girl-eating cockerel

1 May

 

Chroniclers Milo (age 10) and Louisa (Mum) went to the Swindon Festival of Literature’s Dawn Chorus, the sunrise launch event at Swindon’s Lawn Woods. When they returned, Louisa asked Milo to write this chronicle but he was too tired after a 5.30am start. Meanwhile, Louisa (sensibly) like a grown up, went back to bed for a nap, while Milo played XBox. So Louisa, keytapping fingers refreshed, interviewed Milo instead. (In breaking news, lack of sleep makes a ten year old silly.)

Q. How many years have you been to the Dawn Chorus?
M. This is my fifth year…
L. …with a break for one year when your baby sister was inconsiderately born just a couple of weeks before the event.

Q. Why do you like going to the Dawn Chorus. It starts kind of early [*yawn*]
M. I like going because, number one: you’ve got an excuse to get up early; number two: you get to see the sun rising, which is amazing; number three: there’s spectacular performers.
L. So there’s a quirky excitement about it?
M. Yeppp.
L. There were lots of children there today, more than usual.
M. Yeah cos usually there’s only me and one or two others. This year there were loads. I think more people are finding out about it.
L. It’s good fun for all ages, and it’s free. And if your child likes getting up annoyingly early, it’s a good way to entertain them. (Plus Old Town’s water supply was cut off, perhaps there were people desperate for their morning cuppa!) You used to get up that early all by yourself. And this year we actually made it for the starting watering can horn and bagpipes, because I bit the bullet and set the alarm for 4.15am, an extra precious quarter of an hour early.

Q. What was your favourite bit?
M. The hotdog and brownie.
L. [*sighs*] Anything else?
M. All of the performers. They were all mind-blowing!
[*Milo refuses to be drawn into a discussion about who he liked the most, as he ‘doesn’t show favouritism’*]
L. What about Giuseppe the cockerel?
M. I think they turned the cockerel into a performer. They made him part of the act – one of the performers did a handstand, with a piece of rope between his legs, and Giuseppe balanced on top. All the photographers took pictures of him! Wouldn’t it have been funny if he’d flown away?
L. But he likes people–
M. –He eats them for breakfast!–
L. –And he was ‘rescued’ by Lower Shaw Farm [Festival HQ] so he wants to hang around the Festival/Farm folk. They took Giuseppe to the Dawn Chorus as he represents the spirit of the Festival – and he’s a cockerel so likes to make a lot of noise at dawn. Did you see his hutch round the back for when he’d had enough?
M. I saw a little girl at the start who I didn’t see at the end!
L. Moving on..!

Q. Have you been practising your finger-thumb trick you were taught at the event?
M. [Demonstrating] Yes. Yes! YES! NO! NO!
L. I don’t think you’ll be replacing Jacob HiHo [juggler and acrobatic] anytime soon..! Describe to our readers…
M. You need to point your left thumb up, and your right forefinger pointing to your left hand. Then you need to swap around so your right thumb is pointing up and left forefinger pointing to your right hand. Keep on repeating this until it goes wrong and you show a loser sign to yourself!

Right, back to the XBox and then Richard Jefferies Museum for Rain, Speed and Steam.

Written by Louisa Davison

The Dawn Chorus took place at Lawn Woods, 5.30am, Monday 1 May, as part of the Swindon Festival of Literature.

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