suzanne Suzanne Lucas (Member of Larkwood Aviaries)

I entered into the budgie world by default, when I met and married my husband, Johan.  Until we met I did not know anyone who kept and bred budgies, and thinking back on those days I remember there being an aviary of birds in the back garden where he lodged when we were still ‘going out’, but to be honest I never took much notice of what was in it.  In fact even when we married and the birds were set up in a new aviary where we first lived, I did not fully comprehend at that stage what a huge impact they would have in my life in the years to come.

The first month we were married, Johan contacted the local budgie club and with much enthusiasm on his part, he dragged me along to that first meeting that would give more meaning and purpose to his life and his whole existence.  I remember clearly that first meeting…it was held at the late Charles Andrews home and we arrived early, (probably one of the few times we have ever arrived early to anything).  Whilst we were escorted out to the back where Charles aviaries were, the club committee were meeting before the club meeting itself.  Johan walked up and down looking, observing, making comments to me that went in one ear and out the other.  I really was not that interested, but being the young, supportive and ‘in love’ wife that I was, I stood my ground and attended that meeting , not realizing that on that one afternoon I would meet some interesting people that would eventually become our dear friends.  This was January 1982…

Within the first few months of marriage, Johan was called up to do an army camp – you know those were the days, pre democracy, where it was compulsory for all young white men to join the forces to fight for their country.  There I was a young weepy wife left alone at home with instructions to look after the budgies – and the dog!!!!

Well that first time alone, I did what was expected…I fed the dog and I fed the birds – or so I thought.  At least in those days there were no special diets to follow, it was very easy – seed, oats and water every day, but much to my dismay my lack of interest did not notice a vital event that led to the demise of many of Johan’s budgies.  It was upon his return some three months later that HE, as observant as he is, discovered he had but a handful of budgies flapping around in the aviary.  I had failed to notice that whilst I was away at work, the dog in his enthusiastic boredom of being left alone all day, had jumped against the wire of the aviary so often in an attempt to reach Oom Proppie’s (neighbour) cat that was sitting on the garage roof that it had stretched and made a hole big enough for the hens to find and fly out of.

That in a nutshell was my introduction to budgies 101…it could only get better from there.  (More tales to follow)

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