Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Finding dead stuff in the pub, the perfect post-exam celebration.

Thankfully, this wasn't taken in The Cumberland Arms,
but just on another occasion of pheasanty goodness that happened a little while back.
Every now and then I get reminded of my Shire roots in Newcastle and it gives me a humble little thrill. Such a thing happened last night, when, whilst ordering at the bar of so-traditional-you-get-evils-for-interrupting-the-folkies, The Cumberland Arms, I noticed a Tesco bag hanging off the front of the bar (they have hooks on there for such purposes). Anyway, it had a couple of feathers sticking out of it.

The Shire origins came shining through. I quickly identified these long plumes as belonging to a pheasant. This is because they're always stopping in the middle of country roads waiting to get killed, and I once opened the kitchen curtains to find one staring me out, oh, and there's a stuffed one in the house. It's a kind of taxidermy heirloom that Nick Hewer amongst others is a big fan of. Prodding the bag a little after making such an observation I announced (probably louder than really necessary) "HA! There's a brace of pheasants in that Tesco bag!"

This was met by a fair amount of disbelief - we were in the non-folkie, non-Geordie, kiddie side of the pub - including that of the barman, although it became apparent that this kind of thing happened fairly often. After waving the bag around for a while a bloke who looked like the least likely suspect to kill anything, let alone decapitate and pluck it, claimed them as his, most casually.

This in turn led to a massive discussion about taxidermy, something I'm personally a massive fan of - not necessarily doing it to endangered creatures now, but certainly making dead zoos out of all the poor blighters the Victorians got so much fun out of stuffing. Given the context of vegetarianism also at the table might not have been the best admission. Needless to say we moved swiftly onto discussing whether Cheryl Cole is in tune with second generation feminism in her recent Glamour interview by luck, judgement, or a PR company.

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