I thought I’d already seen many strange things in my lifetime, but it turns out I hadn’t. This all became apparent on a morning dog walk through my local wood. I came across the strangest encounter I have ever had. Certainly more strange than seeing two legged, large pink rabbits snowboarding down a mountain or grown men, purposely wearing their trousers so they fall beneath their ass line, whilst trying to hold them up from the front and walking as if they’d had a bad accident in them. No, this latest encounter left me a little perplexed. I’ll explain…
One morning last week, myself and the pooches went for our morning walk around the local park and its adjoining wood. We meander around this place fairly regularly, coming across the same dogs most days leading their owners a merry dance. There are also a few serious looking joggers plugged into their music, parents who laugh and play with their toddlers on various climbing frames and also those parents who sit on benches concentrating on their phones whilst their young children are quietly playing by themselves. The whole park and wood is within the middle of a residential area where there are various entrances. It’s well used by all types of people, but this particular morning I came across somebody who didn’t seem to be your standard dog walker, jogger or parent.
As I was walking, Rosie, was happily running between the trees, ball in slobbery mouth while Millie Puggly was trotting behind me on the path when I saw, coming towards me, a young man. Now, as I meet people on my walks I generally try to make eye contact and say hello, some I stop to have a short conversation with and some I don’t, maybe there’ll be a little nod and murmur of a ‘hi’, but generally you get a feeling when someone doesn’t fancy speaking. This man, probably wouldn’t have spoken if I hadn’t blurted out, “You don’t come across this sight very often.” I smiled at the stranger, hoping he’d taken my comment well. Thankfully he did.
I’ll back track a little. The image I saw coming towards me, and I promise this is the truth, with absolutely no exaggeration at all, was a young man, possibly Indian, very handsome, with a perfectly trimmed beard and was impeccably well dressed. Now bearing in mind we are in 2019, in the middle of Rotherham, Yorkshire where jeans, fleece and a pair of well worn trainers are the norm in a local wood at this time of year, mostly enjoyed by dog walkers, groups of kids or joggers, this young man was a little different. He had very smart black shiny shoes, pale cream and well tailored trousers, which were quite high wasted, a crisp white shirt, but not your normal white shirt you’d wear with a suit, it looked… historical. He was also wearing a felt black full rimmed hat, which I must say, totally suited him and his look, but that wasn’t all. It’s what he was carrying that was the strangest thing about this young man.
Now if I was to leave this here and ask you to guess what he was carrying, I am quite confident we’d be here for way too long. Never in a million years would you guess, I’m sure of it. So I’m going to just come out with it… he was carrying a white, quite ornate, fairly large bird cage with two yellow canaries inside.
I will go back to what I said earlier, I totally promise this is the truth, with absolutely no exaggeration! I have not made this up! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of him. I couldn’t exactly get my phone out and start clicking away and to be honest, taking a photo was not what was going through my mind at that moment. I did get a little conversation out of him though.
Now regretfully, I do realise, apart from it being a stupid thing to say, I also must have had an embarrassingly, strange expression on my face when I said, “You don’t come across this sight very often” because, it was obvious what I really wanted to say was, “What the..? Why..? Who..?”
Now, after living here for the last year and a half and knowing the Rotherham accent, I immediately figured he wasn’t from the area, because he was Very well spoken, (no insult intended to people of Rotherham, by the way). He stopped, as I had and very politely answered, while lifting the cage and looking at the birds, “I’d picked up the birds and thought I’d put them in this cage.” He looked at my quizzical expression, looked down and added, “It’s a long story.” He then went on his way and I went on mine, but I very quickly stopped to turn around to look back at him. He’d stopped a little further on and was looking into the cage, talking to the canaries in a very caring manner. I turned again and carried on, stopped after a few more paces, turned back again to see him just walking out of sight. It was at that point when I said out loud, “No-one is going to believe me.” I looked around to see if there was any one else. There wasn’t.
Ever since my unusual encounter last week, (which I know sounds like I made the whole thing up, I promise I haven’t!) I’ve been asking myself, “What is his story?” I really want to know, which lead me to think that I’d like to write his story for him. Believe me, my mind hasn’t stopped wondering about ‘What? Why? Who?’
I then wondered if anyone would like to join me in writing this young mans’ story?
I would be very interested in what springs to your minds as to how this young, well spoken, impeccably dressed, if not slightly out of the ordinary, young man came to be carrying a most unusual item, with two yellow canaries, which I have to say were very calm, for a walk in the wood.
If a story does come to your mind and you’d like to share it that would be great. If you’re a blogger then post your stories on your own blogs, but I’d appreciate it if you would link back to this post, so I won’t miss it. If you’re not a blogger, but would like to join in then send your story to my email, (below) and I’ll post it on my blog, with or without your name, that’s up to you.
I’ll post my own interpretation of my encounter and the stranger in the woods’ short story within the next few days.
I’ll also let you know if I see him again, but something in the back of my mind tells me I probably won’t.
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org