Our family, as a rule, are very friendly towards wildlife. My mum has a large garden, and birdwatching is a hobby. It makes sense, then, to attract birds to the garden. At the far end, there is a pond, designed to attract various animals, insects and birds especially. One of my father's happiest and proudest moments was when a passing heron decided to drop in and inflict a massive casualty rate on the amphibian population. As I was quick to remind him though, just because the pond works for attracting wildlife, the bamboo he had planted nearby was very unlikely to tempt any pandas...
The more common means of getting birds to drop in is by a number of feeders, offering different types of foods. Seeds, nuts and fat balls.
Yes, let's get the sniggering out of the way shall we? This is what I'm talking about.
Balls of nuts, seeds, and or bits of various invertebrates, moulded into a spherical shape and held together by fat.
Whenever we visit, we always try and take along some supplies, just so the birds don't go hungry. We're kind like that. However, asking for these supplies does tend to make for awkward conversations. Asking if someone 'wants fat balls' in a public place is guaranteed to earn you a nervous look or two.
Especially if you add the word 'Mum' to that sentence.
It's not all balls, though. There are also fat blocks, which are most usually filled with mealworms or insects. There are others, though. Some have fruit, some have seeds, but those aren't wanted.
Thus is was that Julie was out browsing some shops, and happened to go into one place that had a section for bird food. Once the obligatory muttered conversation about 'fat balls' was out of the way, Julie tried to find out just which of the different blocks on offer were the ones wanted by Mum.
And then the confusion set in.
I very nearly asked if they actually had blocks with ringworm, but then I decided I wasn't all that interested in finding out and rather hurriedly dropped the whole conversation...