If a spider wanders into my domain, I endeavour to capture him painlessly in a glass and release him into the wild.
“Where am I?” he probably says, as he tries to get his bearings in the garden. “Will the wife and kids be able to cope without me?”
The wife and kids, of course, then come looking for him out of the plughole in the bath and I reunite them outside.
And I have a special affinity for the cow as I must, at my advanced age, have eaten a herd or two of steak with chips.
There are those Buddhists who believe that if you indulge in bad behaviour you will be reincarnated as an animal. Which might not be good if you come back as a dung beetle. Particularly if, just before you died, you stamped on a dung beetle.
“Oi. Aren’t you the bloke who killed my cousin?”
Could be nasty.
I am even a friend to flies, thinking, one day, that could be me. I particularly feel for them when they keep banging their heads against the window – which is almost an allegory of life – and have been known to open it wide, even on a cold night, to usher them from the bedroom and to the safety of the great outdoors.
Although I have to confess that this is not wholly altruistic as there is nothing so annoying as a dive-bombing fly in the dark when you are trying to get to sleep.
So point made. My feelings of goodwill to the animal kingdom are constant and not in question. Unless it involves my lunch.
There I was, the other day, preparing a delectable salad of sliced tomato, cucumber and onion, covered in my wife Maria’s home-made Italian dressing, a chunk of ciabatta bread ready to dip. All it needed was the addition of a small tin of tuna.
The tin was opened, the tuna deposited, I turned to get my fork and … buzz!
A very large fly came from on high with the determination of a kamikaze, hurtled past my ear with the velocity of a bullet, and slammed straight into the middle of the chunks of fish. He was making a right pig of himself.
My Buddhist principles were abandoned. I screamed a battle cry from a previous incarnation – possibly that of a berserker Viking – threw a tea towel over the plate to trap the beast and deposited the lot in the bin.
Death by tuna. For a fly, possibly, not a bad way to go. But that was my lunch gone, too, and I didn’t have the heart to prepare another. Not because I was already regretting killing a fellow creature, but because I was too angry.
For a while I stomped around the house, but other flies and spiders were in hiding from my wrath, the cat went to the loft and it was a while before the berserker eased back into the past.
And if, at some time in the future, I am reincarnated as a fly and a bluebottle approaches me and says: “Oi. Aren’t you the bloke who killed my cousin?”
I shall say: “That’s me,” thump him on the nose and give him a good kicking with all my six feet. Goodwill to all creatures has its limits