‘My son hides bread, afraid there won’t be any food’


You know what this reminds me of, Portsmouth? The day that I discovered that my parrot – now deceased – had been hiding food, worried that there wouldn’t be enough. Must have been 2012 or early 2013. She started screaming when I was cleaning the cage, had been hiding food under the papers on the bottom of the cage.

She was with me for 21 years. That’s the only time I have seen her do that.

I explained to her that I would be getting some money from the Netherlands soon. The period running up to when that happened was very rough, but thankfully, you can explain things to intelligent non-human animals. So that’s what I did. They very often get it, get what you are trying to tell them. It helps.

She was getting on in years and her eyesight was going. I didn’t leave in 2013, after I got the money, because I didn’t want to put her through the immense stress it would cause her. But I still had no idea what Portsmouth is really about, back then. I didn’t know yet that the locks to my flat were constantly getting picked, for example.

In Portsmouth, the war is always on. Practically speaking, it’s a different kind of war than Putin’s war against Ukraine, but it certainly is a war and it is fueled by similar sentiments. I was once informed that what I was going through was like hazing. It’s not. Hazing, how despicable it may be, stops at some point. Portsmouth’s invisible war is always on.

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