The peacock and the petrol pump

The Silly Season’s arrived, folks. Today’s Telegraph has a sad tale about a peacock who lusts after a set of petrol pumps.

The bird has fallen deeply in love with a row of pumps which make clicking noises similar to those of a broody peahen.

For the past three years the eight-year-old has taken to walking from his woodland home to Brierley Service Station in the Forest of Dean, Glos, to parade his plumage to the row of diesel, unleaded and LRP pumps.

But the pumps never succumb to his overtures and Mr P is left to roost alone.

“In spring he gets his tail feathers and he goes looking for love,” explained the bird’s owner, Shirley Horsman, a former nurse.

“He gets very amorous and the clicking of the petrol pumps makes the same noise as a peahen crying ‘Come on, I’m ready’! Every time he hears someone filling up he thinks he’s on to a good thing. It must be so hard for him listening to these pumps giving him the ‘come-on’ all day long.”

Aw, shucks. It seems that each morning, Mr P is waiting outside the filling station when it opens at 6.30am. Sometimes he spends up to 18 hours at the garage.

“He goes all day, every day, in the breeding season,” said Mrs Horsman. “He just minds his own business, and looks forlornly at the petrol pumps. It’s quite sad really.

Not at all. It confirms my theory that the more concerned a male is about his appearance, the more ridiculous he is likely to be. I first formulated this hypothesis in the 1970s while sitting in a pavement cafe in an Italian town in the early evening and watching preening young male natives strutting about.