The wind is whistlin', the wind is whistlin' through the house...
Springy is supposed to be in the grounds of Springwood Heath primary school. Having sought him high and low, all I can say is, if he is there, he's extremely well camouflaged. Somewhat miffed, I trudge back towards the nearest bus stop through a grassy, wooded area.
And that's when I hear it. An unearthly, fluting, wailing noise. And it's very close. I glance around me in what I fondly imagine to be a nonchalant manner, looking for aliens. Or, failing aliens, a mischievous small boy with a blade of grass between his flattened palms, and suspiciously-pursed lips. The grassy, wooded area is singularly devoid both of aliens and rubicund, Just William-esque small boys.
"What must have happened", I say to myself in a soothing, explanatory manner, "is that somebody has thrown something hollow up into the tree branches. If it was winter, you could probably see the hollow thing, and then there'd be no mystery at all. And no reason to worry."
Hardly worried at all, I break the sticky crip land speed record getting out from under the trees and onto the nice, sensible pavement. Which doesn't screech at me. For this relief, much thanks.
Next stop Speke Retail Park, because I'm hoping to be able to get close enough to Peel to photograph him. I've passed by him at speed a couple of times in the Dude's Rolls Canardly, from which luxuriously-appointed vantage point it has looked as though there is no pedestrian access at all. But, as ever, when one is on foot, the situation is entirely different.
Resting my camera on the useful barrier some kindly town planner has seen fit to erect to prevent reckless individuals from hurtling full pelt into the converging streams of traffic, I hear the fluting, hooting, wailing noise again. It's very loud and it's coming from somewhere very close to my right ear.
Steadying my camera - which, for some reason, has developed a mysterious wobble - I reason that I must have brought the noise with me. And that either I have an invisible alien perched lightly on my right shoulder, or the noise is being created by something I'm carrying. Or, indeed, wearing.
Suddenly - as they used to say in the old adverts for colourless Coca Cola - everything is clear. The wind is whistling through the hollow glass bead in my earring. There are no aliens. Leastways, none which announce their presence with fluting, wailing noises. I just happen to be wearing an earring which goes (rather aptly) bananas when the wind catches it at a certain angle.
Once the penny has dropped, of course, I spend the rest of the morning inclining my head at increasingly bizarre angles in the hopes that it will happen again. Which it does. But not unless I'm in a position which does nothing for my reputation as a sober and upright member of the local community.
If nothing will now do but that you purchase yourself - or someone you want to scare out of her wits - earrings with a built-in ghostly wail, I believe that LauraMae still has some for sale which are deftly-fashioned from blown glass beads.
Pop - who makes extravagant and unsubstantiated claims to be my friend - laughed so much when I related this anecdote to him that I thought his sides were in genuine danger of splitting. What a kind man he is!