Feathered Frenzy

I know, I know, I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help it.

A casual glance at my Stats page earlier gave the usual breakdown of data and figures. What is gaining hits, what is dying a slow death.Targets to be broken, self-esteem to shatter. You know the stuff. Nothing unusual, but then I looked at ‘Search Engine Terms’.

Normally there are just two or three words entered, such as native american, or old photographs that have obviously led the searcher to my appropriate posts. But today I saw the following:

Jackdaws are biting my car to pieces.

It tickled me as soon as I read it. I was struck by an image of a frantic, beleaguered man searching desperately online for an answer to the frenzied stripping of his pride and joy and getting lost in a maze of Neolithic art, balloons, and dog eating weirdos, crying out “what is this shit?” as the dark plague can be seen falling on his Audi TT through the window behind him.

I hope he fell back on the idea of a garage rather than a shotgun. But either way, my traffic has improved.

Apologies

It has come to my attention that for some reason I am not being notified about some comments or replies being made on my posts.

I am not sure why I am being informed of some but not others, but in the meantime I thought that I should let you all know.

If I’ve not got back to any of you, I may need further prompts!

I am not being ignorant, just gremlin plagued.

 

The Man Who Eats Roadkill

I recently read about a 72-year-old man who goes by the pretentious moniker of ‘Roadkill Connoisseur’.

He used to be a taxidermist, and would bring home roadside pickings to skin and stuff. Then he decided that instead of throwing the bodies away it would be frugal to start eating them. His palate has taken in all types of creatures such as badgers, polecats (their meat has a vile smell) and swans (tastes like mud). His freezer is crammed full with the whole gamut of British fauna.

In this day and age of recycling and trying to combat our wasteful habits there is a certain common sense to what he does. He does not like waste, and calls himself a freegan-he doesn’t pay for his meals. His vegetarian wife eats her meals upstairs to avoid a row. That is the secret to a successful marriage.  Relate take note.

Now I am sure you may be thinking he is just a harmless eccentric, and that his story is slightly amusing in a detached way. But then he goes on to say that his favourite food is labrador.

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Now that puts a different complexion on things doesn’t it? I know some of you discerning people who follow City Jackdaw have these lovely, cuddly dogs as family pets. All of a sudden, your cornflake laden spoon has frozen on its way to your mouth. Mid-dunked digestives have crumbled into your cups of tea.

I was uncertain as whether to tell you that he says Bouncer tastes a little like lamb. But in for a penny in for a pound.

The thing is, he isn’t actually killing these animals. He isn’t even harming them. But could you do the same? If you was hungry? And you wanted to do your bit to save the planet?

Waste not want not.

Walking the East Lancs road must be like a finger buffet to our dear old connoisseur.

Which brings me to something else.

I also read the story of a man who lost a finger and part of his hand due to a motorcycle accident. He had always, even before banging his head, had a curiosity about cannibalism. But of course other people’s meat is off-limits (damn the law). His culinary opportunity arose when surgeons informed him that they would have to amputate his finger. Yes, you’ve guessed correctly. He took the severed appendage home and boiled it (the best way not to damage the bones) without adding anything to the broth that may disguise its true flavour.

Once consumed, he lovingly placed the bones in a box as a souvenir. His act has been greeted with disgust, but also, notably, with the approval of a vegan. Animals unsportingly do not give their consent to be eaten, whereas this guy gave consent to himself to eat himself. Partly.

What is wrong with these people?  Is it me?

There is no way I am telling my wife that this guy ate a part of his own body because he was curious and it was no longer of any other use to him. Not when she is clipping her toenails. My stomach just wouldn’t take it.

Enjoy your lunch.

Boonless In Southport

At the weekend my wife, father-in-law, two youngest children and I spent the day in Southport. It had been many years since I had last been there-thirty seven to be exact. I can be sure of this as my previous visit had been with my first school, and I had only spent just over a year there before leaving due to moving home.

The first thing I can remember about that trip, way back in 1976, is that the sea seemed miles away from our little flock herded onto that stretch of beach.

My second recollection was an accident that occurred in the toilets of the car park where we disembarked from the coach. A girl from my class got her fingers trapped in the toilet door, and I remember a male teacher carrying her out in his arms. I no longer recall the teacher’s name, or what he looked like. He remains forever a faceless comforter.

Later, weary and bedraggled, as we were about to begin the journey home, the girl was sat on a coach that was immediately adjacent to the one that I was on, her seat parallel with mine. She was red-eyed, and had what seemed to be a huge bandage wrapped around her index finger which she held up, supported by her other hand.

I have no class photographs from my time at that first school, but I can remember the girl’s name, and  amazingly, thirty-seven years after the fact, I can still see her face in my mind’s eye. She is one of four fellow classmates whose faces I can still conjure from memory alone, although there is now a blurring of features that were once well-defined. Like old snapshots beginning to fade and curl with time.

That day was the first time I can remember attempting to make somebody feel better with humour-I offered an apple that was in my lunch box to her through the two different coach windows that separated us, then pretended to devour it in great, over exaggerated bites. Red eyed and bandaged, I can still see her smiling.

That method of lifting spirits, particularly with children, has remained with me. Humour I mean, not the ‘old apple trick.’

Anyway, on my latest trip to Southport there was nothing to trigger any further recollections. It could have been any other seaside town.

We went on the funfair, with the not unreasonable expectation of a leisurely, pleasant day. But my nearly three year old son immediately became focused on his one obsession-obtaining his regular fix of balloons. He spotted the sign on a shop front, quite a way away, and, mistaking  the painted balls for balloons, he was off, racing towards it as fast as his little legs would take him. That set the tone for the rest of our time on the site. No amount of distractions by Granddad, cajoling by Mum, shouting by Sister or pleading from I would deter him from his goal.

“Boons!” he cried, “boons!” over and over for the next hour and a half or so. Turning up his nose at every kids ride or chocolate on offer.

And of course we couldn’t find any balloons anywhere. You could forgive us for thinking our luck was in when we finally spotted a stall with the following title scrawled above it in bright lettering:

‘Balls and Balloons’

A great sigh of relief exhaled by three generations drowned out the cacophony of loud music and screaming kids of the funfair. But when we got to it-in James’ wake, there was not a ball or balloon in sight. Just one of the those punch ball things that you are supposed to hit as hard as you can to set the bells ringing and lights flashing.

James’ hand was already balling into a fist.

Back in the car, strapped in and still pleading for a boon, we drove for a few minutes to another spot. As I bent to unstrap him from his car seat, I said to him “Let’s get you out, are you going to be good now?”

Very calm, very low, but with a perceivable hint of menace, he said just one word: “boon.”

Boon, singular.

There was no compromise, no acknowledgement of our predicament. Just a you-know-what-I-want, and a you-know-what-you-have-to-do. A measuring with the eyes, a shifting of power between us.

New part of town, same old story. No balloons. The same old tat being sold in every shop and stall we passed, but no balloons. This was unfathomable to James. In the end we coerced him with ice cream, paraded him up and down in a hall of distorting mirrors that alternatively stretched out or compressed his sulking frame, and then finally distracted him with a trip on a motorised boat for twenty minutes. We all climbed aboard, with two young kids in tow, yet it was my forty one year old wife who asked nervously “We wont sink will we?” I think if we had stepped out of the boat the water would have come up to our knees.

Balloons, sinking ships, there’s always a drama.

James climbed in the front next to his Granddad and the little tadpole soon grew his sea legs as he turned the wheel, exclaiming “Mummy, I driving!” while unsettlingly trying to play Death Race 2000 with the gulls in the water.

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This photograph was taken after the gulls had wisely scarpered.

Once out of the boat, his mood had lightened considerably, and we decided to head to the beach.

On the way I took this photograph in one of the shops:

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When we got there, neither of the children would go into the sea. In fact they both point-blank refused. I cannot for the life of me understand why.

Content with the beach, my daughter Millie discovered a huge ‘X’ drawn on the sand, and made the connection to ‘x marks the spot.’

“It’s a treasure map!! She began to dig furiously with her spade, until her enthusiasm began to wilt. James stood observing  this with all of the potential of a future construction site supervisor, when he suddenly straightened up, squinting past his sister into the distance. I turned to see what had caught his eye.

A kite could be seen further down the beach, fluttering high, all rectangular and green in the blue sky.

James momentarily caught his breath, then gasped, barely audible:

“Boon!”

Claws for the Weekend:Goodbye

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But hang in there, it will soon be Monday, and normal blogging business will resume.

In the meanwhile try to avoid flashbacks concerning birds, overgrown gardens, and ice age puppets.

And, also, especially, black and white photographs of rabbits mating with rats. That will hurt more than anything.

Good luck with the therapy.

See you on the flipside.