It wasn’t a plane and, no, it wasn’t a man with funny underwear over his tights.
But it was a funny-looking bird that looked orange and sick as it lay by the highway in Buckinghamshire in England early last week.
According to CNN, it baffled staff at a UK animal rescue centre until they realised it was just a seagull covered in curry.
“It’s a seagull covered in curry,” declared the chief vet after a judicious sniff at said gull. “How perfectly foul.”
The prudish staff at the Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital were shocked: they knew that fowl was a four-letter bird.
Actually, the bird – named Vinny after vindaloo – was an insecure gull which longed to be an eagle. As gulls went, it was big and was easily big enough to be a D-Gull but not quite big enough to be an eagle.
That depressed the less-than-big bird as it contemplated the bleak and existential question that has tormented glum gulls for millennia: how could it soar like an eagle when it was surrounded by turkeys?
As it flew disconsolately over the cerulean-blue waters of the Buckinghamshire Bay, its answer came in a flash.
The answer was vindaloo.
The near-magical powers of vindaloo have been voluminously documented and chiefly revolves around its prodigious propensity to cure constipation.
History buffs will be interested to know that it was invented around the 13th Century by one Aravinda Pillai who was born in the village of Trissur in Kerala, India.
Even as a child, Aravinda was fascinated by flavours and all things spicy. At a precocious nine, he managed, one morning, to cook pancakes for breakfast. Aravinda was thrilled but his siblings were deeply upset.
Pancakes had been their favourite rabbit.
As he grew older, however, his fame as a cook rose until he was appointed as chef in the palace in Kerala’s royal capital of Trivandrum. And, one fateful day, the King himself confessed to being bored with the pedestrian fare being served up and beseeched Aravinda to come up with something original.
He was still thinking about it when his eye fell casually on some apple cider vinegar – used for washing hair – in his bathroom.
It takes true genius to recognise serendipity when it looks you in the eye but Aravinda was equal to the task.
He instinctively knew that if he simmered lamb stock and vinegar, sugar, salt and seasonal spices with choice cuts of lamb for just long enough, he would end up with a succulent, falling-off-the-bone lamb dish fit for a King.
The monarch agreed and named the dish after his Chef in a Bathroom. In short, His Majesty decreed that it should forever be called Vindaloo.
Vinny, the sad seagull, knew all about the restorative powers of the delectable dish created by Aravinda all those years ago. It also knew that when cooked perfectly, vindaloo is golden.
Which is why it seagull-dived into an industrial-sized vat of vindaloo outside the biggest curry-house in Buckinghamshire.
The bird was lucky in that the dish had been cooling for some time so it escaped being cooked.
Animal lovers will be delighted to know that Vinny has made a complete recovery.
But his vets have advised that trying to be a golden eagle may be prejudicial to its health.