WHEN you’re away at university in an unfamiliar city, it’s natural that you will phone home to talk to friends and relatives while enjoying a cup of tea.
But for one student at the University of Worcester, her parrot was also a must-make phonecall—as well as sharing in the tea drinking—for her pet African grey, Jack, enjoys nothing more than a cuppa and a chat.
Lorna Webb, from Bedford, moved to the city two years ago to study a degree in journalism and scriptwriting, leaving behind her beloved bird, who is actually a female.
However, thanks to the animal’s unusual talents, the pair are able to stay in touch.
“I miss her so much,” said the 20 year old, who lives in Comer Road, in St John’s. “She’s such a little character, I chat to her on the phone and I’ve spoken to her on the webcam.
“She recognises my voice and it puts us both in a good mood.” She says. “She has phone conversations with herself now, whistling the phone ringing and saying ‘hiya mate, how are you?’ and answering herself.”
Although Jack lives in Bedford with Lorna’s parents, Scott and Tracy Webb — who Jack knows as nan and granddad — she visits Worcester regularly for a catch-up over a cup of tea.
The family took on the parrot around eight years ago after her original owner died.
“She instantly took to me and it wasn’t long before she was snuggling into my chest to watch EastEnders and drinking my tea,” Lorna said.
But, she added, the parrot could sometimes be a bit naughty.
As well as enjoying drinking tea, Jack is also known to switch on the kettle herself and cause more mischief.
“It will be 3am and we wake up thinking the kettle is on,” Lorna said. “But it’s just her whistling.
“She also calls Charlie and Harry, the dogs. She will whistle for them and call them by their names.”
Yet however much the pair miss each other, they are always happy when they reunite.
Lorna said: “I went home for Easter and when she saw me she just started breathing really heavily, like she was panicking with excitement.
“She’s such a character.”