Distinctly Native: I’m going to fight a seagull

Writer and blogger Nigel Horatio Norbit-Nelson claims to be ‘Portsmouth’s only true citizen’ for the sole reason that he was born here in the mid-80s and has never left Portsea Island since. As part of his ‘Distinctly Native’ series to be published on S&C in which he offers his self-described ‘refreshing and unrivalled’ take on modern Pompey life, this first installment sees Nigel issue an ultimatum to a local menace.

  • 4 portions of battered cod
  • 17 bags of chips
  • 3 tubs of curry sauce
  • 5 extra-large saveloy

As you, the reader, glance at these delicious words you may find yourself wondering why I am such a greedy son-of-a-gun, or perhaps you’re suddenly feeling rather peckish and now in need of acquiring some of the above for your supper? Well, let me tell you that this is not a recent chip shop order of mine (I wish!), or the ‘Last Meal’ request of a condemned prisoner, but is in fact the ever-expanding list of items stolen from my person by an persistent and aggressive seagull (pictured).

Image courtesy of Nigel Norbit-Nelson.

It really doesn’t matter if the day has brought me the elation of a small scratch card win or the joy of seeing someone burn their mouth with their coffee, a day when I see this demonic wind-hogger is a day I like to quickly forget.

I don’t believe this ‘gull’ to be a Portsmouth native as I’m yet to find his nest in the area (and believe me – I’ve looked), but if someone was to press me on his nationality then I’d probably say he’s French. So this is why I’ve chosen to name him after the losing Admiral Commander at the Battle of Trafalgar: Villeneuve.

Villeneuve (seagull, not man) launched his first coordinated attack on me at 1:45pm on Saturday 16th November 2019. I had just visited a chip shop and was enjoying my lunch at the Round Tower as I patiently waited for the arrival of the Prince of Wales (ship, not man). With the colossal aircraft carrier slowly emerging on the horizon and with Villeneuve clearly jealous of my cod, chips and saveloy combo, the beaky coward nosedived straight into my lunch, grabbed everything he could and flew into the nearby stairwell.

Some may argue that food theft is common behaviour for this type of seabird and the best way to act here would be to just let it go. But not me. Any man or creature that’s hell-bent on disrupting such a monumental day for the city must be held to account, and that’s exactly why I spent the best part of five hours trying to track him down. Despite the fact that my search was unsuccessful and I missed the ship’s passing altogether (the reason I went there), I knew I’d done the noble thing by trying to bring him to justice.

Since this day, Villeneuve has made a regular habit of harassing and stealing from me whenever I’ve visited a chip shop on Portsea Island (21 times and counting). From Hilsea to Southsea, Gunwharf to Eastney, this grey and white menace will always be hovering above my head. Waiting. Plotting. Taunting. And then… STRIKING.

And so, as a prisoner in my own city who lives in the constant fear of ambush, I’m left with no choice but to publically declare my intention to fight Villeneuve so we can settle this dispute for once and all. He is welcome to select all the main details for the event: date, time, venue, ticket-pricing structure – just as long as we can slog it to determine a victor. It will be an eye for an eye. A tooth for – err – a beak, I guess.

It’s worth stating here that whilst I despise Villeneuve and everything he stands for, I have to admire the intelligence he’s shown in picking me as the recipient of his crimes. He knows what an integral part of the local community I am in that if I go down I take the whole of Portsmouth with me. It’s unquestionably a smart move but one that I simply can’t tolerate.

So c’mon beaky, let’s get it on! I’ve drawn the line in the sand and battle will ensue. This will be 186cm of ‘Man’ vs 29cm of ‘Beast’. Admiral Lord Nigel Horatio Norbit-Nelson vs Admiral Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Silvestre de Villeneuve. Let’s get the contract signed now and give the people what they want!

This article was originally published on Nigel’s website Heaven’s Light MY Guide but was accidently deleted when he attempted to make a ‘last-minute edit’ to the height of the seagull in question. Regrettably, all of the site’s content (along with the site itself) was subsequently lost. You also can’t follow Nigel on social media as he doesn’t know what it is.


Main image by Stevebidmead from Pixabay.


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