Baroness Estée Lauder-Blackwell of Lower Chedworth RIP

Over sixteen years ago my Cousin Rufus heard scritchings and scratchings in the ceiling cavity above his head in his office in Ho Chi Minh City – Saigon to you and me.

He moved to Indonesia many years ago following his immense talent in SFX where he has worked at the cutting edge of digital special effects in the film industry and deployed drone technology with stunning and beautiful effect, forming his Company RUFUS.STUDIO to platform his formidable talent.

When Cousin Rufus was a little boy I remember his great love of all things animal. Age has not diminished his care for the defenceless creatures of the world so when he heard the scritchings and scratchings above his head in his Saigon office, he immediately investigated and found a tiny, tiny hatchling, a teeny-weeny baby Indian Mynah apparently abandoned by its parents who were either irresponsible or had met their fate in the deadly skies of Saigon………………whatever.

The first person the squidge of hatchling saw in its tiny short life having stepped out of its egg, was my Cousin Rufus and, common to a lot of birds and fowls, ducks and geese, it assumed he was her parent and latched onto him forever.

I say ‘her’ but of course at that stage no-one had sexed ‘it’ though it turned out to be a ‘her’ in due course and her pronoun safe in this brave new world of gender assignment!

Her beautiful eyes gave her the name Estée Lauder and she has grown in love and in loyalty for her father who is My Cousin Rufus.

Estée has travelled the world. Cousin Rufus was mocked by his co-workers for his persistence in rearing this tiny, new responsibility:  she would not last the day; she could not be force fed with a dropper, she confounded the cynics and grew into a formidable presence in her Dad’s life.

She is the only Mynah I have ever heard of that has migrated by jet as she was whisked to and from the humidity of Vietnam and Indonesia to the damp chills of Gloucestershire and to other destinations besides.

For sixteen years!


What a character. Her bond with Rufus meant that she did not see herself as a bird but as human; no matter how long Rufus was apart from her, she would always welcome him back with hysterical adoration, recognising him the instant he appeared at the door of her home in Lower Chedworth.

And she disdained other birds. Cats feared her. Dogs were easily mastered. Her door was never shut and  she did not escape or even want to escape into the foreign skies of England.

Now Estée, beloved of the whole family of Blackwells, Keith-Roachs, Cartwrights – and many others besides – has passed from us into Mynah Heaven.

So sad.

With permission from Cousin Rufus I would like to publish his

Eulogy for Baroness Estée Lauder-Blackwell of Lower Chedworth

RIP Estée Lauder.

You tiny little massive legend.

My beautiful little Myna Bird I rescued as a tiny, featherless chick,

And hand reared in Malaysia.

I couldn’t possibly say goodbye to you, so brought you back to join the Blackwell Family.

An epic character weathering 16 winters in the Cotswolds,

A part of the a world no Malaysian Myna bird has known but you.

Estee:  you lived the most incredibly vibrant life,

Surrounded by cats, dogs and other animals,

Yet somehow you always came to no harm.

You escaped more times than we can remember,

Your cage fell from a tree, setting you free,

And you turned up at the neighbour’s,

Yet somehow survived to live a full, utterly unique life.

We will miss your amazing repertoire;

But most of all we will miss your call, “Wicked! Wicked!”

But now, in the words of Monty Python, you are deceased, you are no more, you are an “ex-parrot”, you have rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.

As we bury you in this, your favourite patch of the garden,

You will forever be pushing up the daisies.

Fare thee well you tiny magnificent creature.

We all love you and will remember you forever.

Bravo, Cousin Rufus, Bravo!

(Vimeo kindly provided by Cousin Wendy Keith-Roach)

5 Replies to “THE GREEN DIARY :  ”

  1. Baroness Estée-Lauder Blackwell seems to have been a small bird with a HUGE personality.
    The saga of her life and death brought a tear to my eye; your cousin is going to miss her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *