READER Lee Watt contacted Community News to share this lovely story of “a man, his dog and the magpies”, a true example of community spirit and what it means to have public spaces to socialise with other nearby residents.
Melene Park in Duncraig was the place where one of its residents, Alex Watt, spent a lot of his life socialising with many locals, all of whom used the park to walk their dogs and to catch up daily for chats.
Alex became well known to all of the dog owners as the person who always took a small bag of dog treats and when he arrived, the dogs would come up to him for their share of his offerings.
He had a love of animals and throughout his life, he rescued many injured birds and animals and took them to local vets for treatment.
Alex lived on his own, so the park – as it is for many other residents who live alone – was a place where people could socialise and he looked forward each day to going with his little dog, Arnie, to meet his friends.
Alex and the park magpies developed a friendship as well.
The birds would wait for his red car to arrive in the parking area and they would fly over to him, landing at his feet, on his hands or even on his hat.
He used to bring a small bag of mince and would sit on one of the park posts and the magpies would wait patiently until he either threw pieces into the flock or they would take the food gently from him .
Arnie would sit beside him waiting for this ceremony to end, because it was a rule that the last piece of the mince was for him.
At first Alex and Arnie walked to the park but in the last three-and-a-half years, Alex contracted motor neurone disease and as he was robbed more and more of his abilities – he needed to drive the short distance while he still had his licence.
Eventually, the illness robbed Alex of the energy to make his way to the park but the park visitors often dropped by his house.
On one occasion, his family took Arnie to the park for a walk while Alex remained at home.
As they started to walk around the park with the dog, the magpies spotted Arnie and they circled and landed next him and accompanied them for the walk.
It is hard to describe the importance of the park in Alex’s life.
It was a place that provided so much pleasure to him and where he made great friends.
After Alex’s passing, one of the good park friends brought a photo of Alex feeding the magpies with Arnie by his side and mounted the picture on the park shed wall.
This was a lovely gesture and speaks volumes of the importance and memories Alex brought to his park friends.