Skye has been uncharacteristically sociable of late. On his escapes from his cage he has taken to landing on the desk and playing with pens and assaulting the laptop screen. He hasn’t behaved like this since before he got himself a girlfriend. At first I thought that this was a sign that he was growing out of his juvenile awkward stage, but no – he is being hen-pecked. He is actually being pecked by a hen. As it turns out it is Jura who has matured, and is now on the lookout for nesting boxes. Only the other day she was in the Pet Shop on Camden Street – sort of like IKEA for budgies – eying up the bird tables, love swings, and nesting boxes. Now Skye is finding all sorts of reasons to be out and about; dropping down unannounced to my chair, inviting me out for drinks, and that sort of thing. It’s like he doesn’t want to go home. Even Ambrose is beginning to get suspicious. It used to be the way that he would eventually make his way back to his cage when his belly started calling out for millet, which was never very long, but now we have discovered he is partial to corn flakes.

Ambrose, on account of Skye’s takeover of the kitchen, has taken to sulking on the top landing or camping out on the living-room couch. When the birds first arrived he was pretty sure they were being fattened up for him, but once he realised they could fly and rather enjoyed dive-bombing him the novelty of a cooked bird wore off. When he was a pup he had been kennelled in an over-populated pet home when I was off gallivanting around Europe and was put in with the cats. He hasn’t ever really gotten over that experience in his formative years. For months after his stay he would stretch out on pillows and lick his armpits like a moggy, and I suppose it must have been there that he developed his taste for birds. Years have taken their toll on him though, and even though he might like a bite he just doesn’t have the youthfulness anymore to be bothered trying to take one down. The sad thing is – the birds have figured this out, and make his life a living hell. With Skye spending more time away from home Ambrose is studying the Battersea Dogs Home brochure.

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