W & N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm.
“Real loss only occurs when you lose something that you love more than yourself.”
Gina, a white domestic goose, was born to a large clutch of goslings, but right from the beginning I could see something wasn’t kosher. He couldn’t keep up with the rest of the crowd and upon closer investigation I noticed that he had a slight ‘hump-back’ which impaired his walking a bit. So of course, straight into the basket with a hot water bottle and 2-hourly feeds at night. quite unnecessary, as goslings can fend for themselves from day one, but Gina was special, and he got special treatment!
It wasn’t long before he started following me all over the house, running with a peculiar little limp, as if his one leg was shorter than the other and he soon graduated to following me around in the garden.
Gina was the perfect companion, following when I walked, and sitting at my feet when I sat down. He loved being held and cuddled and would hiss sweet little nothings in my ear as we sat on the lawn, staring up at me with those beautiful blue eyes. His feathers were sparkly white and the down on his tummy was exquisitely soft, no wonder they use Goose Down to make duvets!
Then he started taking little explorations into the garden on his own, making a couple of friends among the other geese, most of whom would have nothing to do with him and he steered well clear of them. One thing about geese, they can be utterly ruthless. Domestic geese have been used for centuries as watch animals and guards, and are among the most aggressive of all poultry. There’s not a thief or anybody with less than honest (or honest!) intentions that can approach your house without a huge racket ensuing! Visiting friends and family were well advised to hoot and call before getting out of their vehicles!
Gina spent many beautiful years with us on our smallholding (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), but unfortunately he came to an untimely demise, and I was totally heart-broken.