Humor Magazine

Train Travel Tales #37 – The Birdman Of The 11.35

By Gingerfightback @Gingerfightback



He had boarded the train at Derby. Pink Floyd was playing on my Ipod when he sat next to me. If there is a better song than Wish You Were Here, then I’m a Chinaman.

As the train left the Station,  the man placed his hands to his mouth and blew through them, carefully adjusting his fingers in a daintily choreographed process.

Curious, I turned down my Ipod to listen.


Beautiful birdsong! It was like having Summer on the train. The gentle chirping carried me back to warmer, more carefree days. It was like hearing Dark Side Of The Moon for the first time. Seminal.

The Guard, a world weary man who attended to his duties with a grim relish, stopped to listen. “Fookin’ Brilliant,” he said to the man as he checked his ticket, “Like being in fookin’ aviary. Me mam had a budgie once. Fooker never said a fookin’ word.” He moved away, “Tickets from Derby please.”

The man desisted from his trilling and rummaged in his rucksack. He pulled out a number of twigs and arranged them around himself and then retrieved a small Tupperware box, opened it and ate a couple of fat, wriggling earthworms.

Most of the questions in life can be found in the lyrics of Roger Walters. If there is a better lyricist then I am a Chinaman. But even Roger would be stumped to explain a nest building, worm eating, bird impressionist on the 11.35 to Sheffield.

“Cuckoo, cuckoo.”

“Cuckoo?” I said, this time more confidently.

“Yep! What’s this one?” He raised his hands to his mouth and  blew, his cheek and neck muscles working overtime to shape and twist the sounds.

If it had been the solos of David Gilmour it would have been another story. If there’s been a better guitarist then I’m a Chinaman.

“Robin?” I said meekly.


He went through his extensive repertoire. My lack of knowledge was cruelly exposed.







“Twit Twoo, Twit Twoo.”


“Yep! Which sort?”

“A big one?”


He chomped on a worm. He stood. He lowered  his head onto his chest, placed his legs together and waddled forward a few feet, turned and returned in the same manner, a low, skittish growl accompanied these movements.

“Need the toilet?” I asked. Worms can’t be good for the digestive tract.

“Emperor Penguin.” He sat.

His body language now carried an air of menace, “You don’t know much about Birds do you?”

“Not really.”

“OK. I’ll make it easy for you.” He repeatedly head butted the seat in front of him, stopping only to smile with a manic bloodstained leer at me before continuing with his butting frenzy. He stopped and sat back. His nose was a bloody mess. A couple of twigs had been dislodged and fallen onto the Carriage floor.

“Fookin’ Hell,” said The Guard who happened to be passing, “That is the best impression of a fookin’ Woodpecker I’ve ever seen.”


The Guard focussed on the elderly woman who was sitting in the seat the man had been butting and helped fish out the her partially swallowed top set. Her wig was also akimbo.

“What’s this then?” The man stripped naked and clambered into the overhead shelf. He levered his buttocks over the head of the elderly woman who was checking her top set for any damage and……well…….did something that make pigeons the scourge of city folk.

“You can’t fookin’ evacuate on fellow passengers. It clearly states this in Conditions of  Carriage,” The Guard said in an exasperated fashion.

“But it’s lucky to be crapped on by a pigeon!”

He escaped the clutches of The Police and roosted in the rafters of Sheffield Station. After a three day standoff  he attempted to fly to freedom. According to witnesses he flapped like a wingless, featherless titan.

The last words he uttered were, “Look! I can fl………..”

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