This Plan or No Plan

This Plan or No Plan.


“Order! Order!” whistled Eric Swan, the Chair. “Let the lady croak!”


Eric and the other birds, residents of The Quarry nature reserve on the edge of town, had gathered together, on the grassy knoll adjacent to the lake, to discuss plans for a belated fortieth anniversary celebration.


At a previous gathering, Sue Moorhen had been appointed, from a list of one, to draw up possible plans of action.


“I’m very pleased to be here tonight,” she croaked. After much applause, “I have a plan.”


After much more applause, she continued, ”I’ve spent many, many hours drawing up my plan. I think you will all be very pleased with the fruits of my hard work.”


“And what if we don’t like it,“ cawed one of the old bald coots stood there, just in front of her.


“You’ll have to like it or lump it. My plan has some lines, as red as the beak on my face, that will not be crossed. It’s either this plan or no plan.”


“What?” What do you mean, this plan or no plan?” Simon Drake railed.


“As I said, this plan or no plan.”


“But it was decided, at our previous gathering, that you would bring three options so we could vote for the one that most of us liked,” yapped Eric Swan’s wife Erin, who’d remained mute up till now.


“Quiet! Quiet!” growled Eric. “Erin, sit down please! And will our Canadian friends at the back please stop their cackling. I can’t hear myself think.”


“You’ve got to tell her. Vladimir Putin wouldn’t put up with it in Russia,” hissed the Muscovy, Nikolai Utkin.


“Come on, Eric. Get a grip on things,” clappered bewhiskered widower Gerry Mandarin, ducking his head into the water in a fit just short of temper, who was spending his annual vacation at The Quarry.


After a few moments of near quiet, apart from the tits, twits, tweets, hoots, coos and caws of the arboreal section of the congregation, Eric snorted, “Right everyone, I’ve chewed over everything that’s been communicated so far. Sue will, as she’d intended, inform everyone what her plan is for our anniversary celebrations.”


“Again, what if we don’t like it? What happens then?” squawked a group of grumpy Gulls.


“We’ll have a vote. Accept Sue’s plan or have no celebrations.”


A cousin of the Canadians, Austin Greaterwhite, having a bit of a cob on, decided that the time had come for him to honk his piece.


“That’s not good enough. Accept her plan or have no plan at all? I think we should have a vote first to agree that if we don’t like her plan she be asked to go away and come back with another plan. To have no plan is not an option!”


“Hear! Hear!” responded all present, apart from Eric and Sue, accompanied by a wild flapping of wings.


Eric’s feet were tied. “Sue, you heard everything. Please outline your plan, after which all present will either vote to accept it or request a plan more in line with majority views.”


Though not many things, Sue was, without the slightest doubt, pertinacious.


“I will read out my plan, as requested. But, before I do, I want all of you to be perfectly clear that I have no intention of spending any more of my valuable free time drawing up plans that you might or might not approve. As I said earlier, it’s this plan, red lines included, or no plan at all! The choice is yours!”


She read out her plan.


Meanwhile, Ernst Sparrowhawk took the opportunity to grab himself a coal tit for supper.


Sue finished reading to rapturous applause. Without further ado, Eric confirmed, “In that case, our anniversary celebration plan is agreed. Good night all.”


“Thank goodness for that. Don’t they know the clocks go forward tonight? Perhaps, now they’ve all gone, my family and I can get some sleep,” squeaked an irate water rat.



@ rowland paul hill