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Diary of a head The birds and the bees

Stuart Mcleod’s battle with the local bird population continues as his latest attempt to remove amorous seagulls from his roof ends in tears


mplitude is the maximum displacement of a wave from the rest position…” Those were the last words I wrote in my

physics book in September 1970 as I began my third year at secondary school. It was the only physics fact I ever learned because at the end of the lesson I was forcibly ejected. I was removed on the unfounded charge of allegedly bending the slinky spring. This was the visual aid used by Mr Nixon to demonstrate the theory but some wise guy in my group sabotaged it by distending it mid-lesson. So, instead of pulsating caterpillar- like down the school stairs, it sat, motionless, refusing to budge, more akin to a turd on a doorstep. The maximum displacement that day was my having to write 400 words on the Greek Military Junta as a punishment. Forty years on, the grandson of slinky has

come to haunt me as our feathered friends proudly demonstrate the physical effect of amplitude on a daily basis, above us, in all its glory. Readers may recall that we once had a super wind turbine on our school fi eld which specialised in savaging and decimating the local herring gull population. News of the aerial lawn mower and our Shredded Tweet problem made international news with my having to do live interviews that were later broadcast on Al Jazeera TV. As it happens word has reached us that the emasculated exorcised mincer is now

safely ensconced in a primary school fi eld in north Dorset and is proudly working away without the graphic horror images that greeted us each day. The beast cost us £10,000 from our capital budget a few years ago but in the end we were happy to give it away to any other school that could, a) turn it on and b) produce any electricity out of it. I believe we were the only school in the country that had had this problem so in the end there weren’t many yellow ribbons tied to the shaft. However, our own problems with the nesting

gulls continued unabated. Now the gull cull had been removed we soon had over 40 pairs of gulls proudly nesting on our shallow roof. Their regurgitated stomach contents swirled around the playground on windy days and the poorly constructed nests responded to gravity’s law and dropped into the gutters and valleys causing innumerable fl oods inside the school. From being called Windy Miller by colleagues only a few months ago I now became Noah as the water seeped through the asbestos-laden artex tiles. So, at our finance and premises governors meeting we put our collective heads together and came up with a brilliant solution; we would erect a giant hairnet above the building to deter any gulls from thinking our roof was literally the best place on the island for a night on the tiles and bit of rumpy pumpy.

In due course, an Ena Sharples net

has been raised. It was another £10,000 pride and joy. No longer would we have integral fountain features cascading down the electric sockets in year 1, no, we would show them we meant business. They would learn that this was a Nookie Free Zone and fl y off to our neighbours for their conjugals. Er, sadly not! You see, we reckoned that our

gulls were rather the CVA equivalent of say 99.7 of the bird world. Yes, they are a bit slow in their learning but with copious amounts of TA (Tweet Aid) they might just make Level 4, eventually. But no, they aren’t FFT Type D but more Flappy Flying Twits Type S for Statemented as they proceeded to ignore the mesh barrier and sat upon it gaily bouncing up and down testing out the maximum displacement of the net’s amplitude. This, on its own may have been acceptable

but they then become trussed up like some gladiator’s victim. This then leads to a phone call to the local bird observatory where the extremely kind warden (parent of kids at school) comes to clamber around the roof and release our feathered friends from the Web of Doom! So, a small fortune later the problem remains. What I have learned from all this is, mud

sticks. Last week a group of six Australian headteachers came to visit our school. I proudly welcomed them at the front door only to be greeted with, “Ah, Mr McLeod, we’ve heard so much about your Turbinator!”

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