shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Final handover



For those that through no fault of their own, or otherwise, and had to part painfully and unwillingly from their beastie or birdies, whether in the past, or the present, or in the future, I dedicate the saga of Riamfada that I had wrote , and continue to write to that final handover , to you all.


Final handover

Now is the morning after. I felt better now and more able to write this then the night before.
I had wanted to do so then. But a weariness came all over me. Perhaps it was all the moving about that tired me out. There was such a deep emptiness when I came back home after dinner with a South African couple and a British couple who wanted to say goodbyes to us.

The dinner with them, and the distraction with them , was a respite from what hit me later. We got home and I thought I play some chess on the Internet as that was such a good opium, and I needed it. I thought I would play for a while and then write of that handover. But games after games were lost by me. I wasn't in the game. The flow of that game and the pieces were totally detached from as if I was playing in a disembodied state and I was the observer of inane games played by a mindless automaton.

Then the numbness came into me. And tiredness so incredible that my wife said perhaps I caught the flu bug going around.

I was re-reading the Rigante series by David Gemmell, where the name Riamfada came from. I enjoyed this re-read immensely as the details of that saga were woven by DG so masterfully that you could not but be drawn into that world of Riamfada. I was already into book 3.

But on that night, the words could not gell together. I had to sleep very early that night. A split second of wondering if Dommie was joining us and then remembering he would never do so again. There was another emptiness that was so deep alongside. That mercifully drew me into its depths and closed my mind and thoughts.

30th September 2010 was the last day of the month, and the last day with Riamfada.

I woke up that morning early to hear her screaming and calling away from her room. I opened her door to see her on the perch she made wish her good morning. She looked at me as if why I was late even though I was earlier then before. The next moment, she took off, did a zig under her dangling perch, and a zag through the half opened door, flared her wings and landed on my shoulder to beak rub and nudge me on my cheek.

I turned around to walk to the kitchen. She took off immediately from me to wing her way into the living room landing on the perch there as her morning ritual. And took off from there to join me in the kitchen. I was weighing that 30 grams of kitty mash for her, observed by her from the top of the fridge. She was more interested in what new pencil have I got to replaced that pencil she demolished the other day. My thoughts that she was gratefully watching me prepared that last mash for her was demolished when she flew to the counter, dug that new pencil that I thought I cleverly hid, and started to demolished it to growls and screams.

I added my scream of NO!, tore that pencil from her, took her in my hands to her growls and screams, and threw her out of the kitchen door, recorded the mash weight in that chewed up notebook that you all have seen.

Part of the normal morning ritual. I think her mash would not taste good without all those ritual fighting with me on chewing that pencil

Then her mash bowl was set into that steel container on the wobbly perch and the kitchen door closed.

She ate her mash and flew from perch to perch and back to eat her mash while I was having my breakfast and coffee made by dear wife.

My wife told me she received a SMS message from Omer. Dommie was still there that morning. That Dom did not miss us and was not desperately crossing 40 km that big desert and 8 lanes of freeway back to us in our villa. Traitor DomDom. King of his domain there with no irritating birdie that sqwarked and swooped on him.

I had other things to do, stuff that got to be done when you leave a country. Such as closing your bank account. I had to go to Al Seeb, the fishing village nearby where there was a branch of my bank.

Normally just the two of us would go. I was not prepared to lose time with Riam. And that was going to be the last car ride for her with us. Her harness was on, and she went to her perch in the car and we drove off.

We walked down the side of that main street of Al Seeb where the cars stopped to a crawl near us. Windows were wound down, and hands with cell phones stuck out. Greetings were called in Arabic and returned with wave of hands. She just sat regally on my shoulder ignoring all those who called out warmly to her.

That was the first time I been to my bank with her. Heads there all turned like a kind of Mexican wave towards us. The teller who knew me smiled his widest smile at me. The next counter waved me over as he was free. That teller told him to pick other people as he was going to serve me notwithstanding there was a person on his counter.

Folks came and talked with me and to admire Riamfada. Then it was my turn. To pick up some USD as Omani Rial would not be widely recognised outside the Middle East.

We then went to my manager of that bank to close my account and to transfer what is left to my Hongkong account. He smiled , more at Riamfada than at me. He known of her, having seen her photos. He told me that was not the same as seeing her in real life , on my shoulder, or on her rod/perch on his table.

We concluded our business and walked out of the bank. To cause another slow down of traffic on the main road. Cars stopped promptly at zebra crossing for the 3 of us. Making me wonder if I was the only guy who walked with parrot along the roadside in that village from all the photos taken of us as we walked back to the car.

We drove home, along the side of the ocean, taking a long route back with Riam swaying on her perch behind us.

I loaded her foraging points, with sunflower and almond seeds, the last time I could do that for her. Watched her enjoying that climbing up and down and checking out and gobbling those goodies.

She flew often to me, touching down on my shoulder for a brief while before flying off again to another perch. I think she knew. She would get an almond. Instead of holding it in claw and munching with her jaw, she flew to my shoulder to munch on it there. Dropping crumbs of almond down me. Not that I mind at all.

She flew to me on the sofa, jaw and claw her way up to my shoulder to hop on the back of the sofa to mouth my ears. To be removed by me on a handperch and tossed to fly away to other perches.

I gave her a last shower. She flew back to her own room leaving a trail of water drops on the floor all the way from the shower. A while later, she flew out to the living room to join me.

I had called Jabri earlier in the morning to expect us at 4 pm. That two trips would be made, the first with all of Riamfada's stuff and perches and the second trip with her.

It was 345pm and approaching that time. I have been telling Riamfada that we have to part and she will be living with the Jabris from today.

I took Riamfada to her room and locked her up in her cage. After her first couple of days with me, the cage door was never locked with her inside. Other than once when she did a flying lunge on my wife that I wrote about.

This time was the last time.

There were too many things I had to do that could not be done with Riamfada flying about with me.

I carried that ladder in. To dismantle all the perches made for her in the living room and in her room. Perches were all untidy looking, but crafted for her with love and much thoughts.

Her bar perch, the hanging perches, all her frozen mash including a few packs of kitty mash were packed in the car and we drove to the Jabri 5 minutes drive away.

I fixed up the wobbly perch and the ring perch as before in Riamfada's last stay there. I leave it to Jabri to use or not use all the other perches, including her picnic perches and her hotel sleeping perch.

We went back and at 5pm or so, Riamfada was taken in her cage to the Jabri.

I tried to tell them as much as I could. Jabri got two of Riamfada's harness. I will keep the free flight harness. The beautiful bamboo rod/reel was a gift to me and I will keep that. The other rod/reel was given to Jabri.

I worked with them again how to use the harness, with Mrs Jabri and her daughters.

I talked and talked. As much as I could with the fear of overloading them. But the most important lesson of all, to treat Riamfada with the respect and dignity due to her as a fellow sentient is embedded with them over the last 6 months. And their following of her journal.

My wife took lots of photos. But I do not think I will be able to see those photos, the way I was not able to see the final photos of Dommie with Omer.

I think in time, she would upload those photos in her Flicker page. I had not seen the photos she uploaded of Yingshiong, or the report that she made of her visit there.

I stuck my finger through the bars of Riamfada cage, to scritch her, and to let her bite so gently. And walked out of the door leaving Riamfada and a large part of my heart behind. Taking with me memories of her that comfort me and also a source of pain to me.

I thank you all my friends who had wrote to me privately and publicly in that last few postings and in this posting. I have been touched and comforted by all you wrote.

Do excuse my rudeness in not answering you, as it is very difficult for me to answer you.

I know in time I will be able to cope again. And in time, be able to read back on what I have written in this chapter.

I will need a long period of time to recover.

There is a price for everything. I think you see the price I paid, that I know I will pay from the beginning.

Now I cannot say that.

In time, I know I will say the happiness and the magic they brought into my life and your lives, are worth the pain. Which is the other side of the coin.

Goodbye all, till we met again


I knew we were here in Oman on borrowed time since the end of last year. Ever since early this year, I expected I have to leave Oman and all my creatures here. If you have not known about all that and wondered why I cannot take Riamfada with me, please read the following.

Riamfada foraging // 3 days 2 nights at Wadi Bani Awf and ending of this chapter

Closing this chapter//Buwah off Harban with Dommie// Beautiful Wadi Qurai

Dedication // Raining curses on Katie at Al Felaij Dam // Riam in cage at Jabri

Mystic octopus // Snake Tshirt and more hide&seek recalls //Countdown to chapter end

It is painful enough for me as it is. So please read or re-read above before you write to me wondering why I have to leave them. Please do not make it even more painful for me to reply and tell you things I have said above because you had not read that.


An important key in your relationship and understanding your parrot mentality from Tinkerbell Legacy
Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot - Rant 03 (a flighted parrot mentality)

Important old letters on harness
Harness for flighted parrots – To Nick and folks

August, 2005.

‘ cargo cult'

'Ramadan & Kitties on beach// Chess -1st Saturday IM Tournament // Tinkerbell Harness for Piper '

Making of Tinkerbell Mash
Morning with Harry & the decision// Sultan of Oman Palace// Tinkerbell Mash Batch 7


If you like the photos here, they are all taken by my wife and uploaded on my behalf by her.

She has her own sets of photos in her Flickr account here



If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice


For those that through no fault of their own, or otherwise, and had to part painfully and unwillingly from their beastie or birdies, whether in the past, or the present, or in the future, I dedicate the saga of Riamfada that I had wrote , and continue to write to that final handover , to you all.


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