Monday, 22 December 2014


The word makes me think of a bad joke about someone from Japan changing his Yen into Pounds, but the fluctuations I refer to are in readership (or at least of clicking-on-er-ship) of this blog. The other day 65 people (or perhaps one person 65 times, or … well you get the idea) looked at it, then the next day only 8. Sometimes when I put a limerick in the readership goes up again. Our last one (not counting the scurrilous one about Jesus) was the Puma, so now we want one beginning with Q:

The Quail has good reason to quail;
on the ‘Glorious twelfth’ without fail
come the dumb upper classes
with guns and field-glasses —
really, they’re beyond the pale.

By the way, ‘The Pale’ in that phrase derives from a fence (‘Pale’ can mean fence) which the Brits put round Dublin a long time ago, so that the colonialists could live comfortably in the city without having to see any nasty Irish, who all lived ‘Beyond the Pale’. The ‘Glorious twelfth’ is the 12th of September, which is the date on which the law says one can start shooting the things. (Birds, not Irish people; you used to allowed to shoot them whenever you felt like it.)

Here (below) is a quail. They’re quite small; nevertheless people shoot them and eat them. In Britain they are popular among the rich, probably because they’re expensive so they eat them to show off. Here in Greece frozen ones, at least, are quite cheap, but one needs half-a-dozen or so to make a meal for one. I’ve eaten them myself, but felt ashamed: they looked so obviously like little birds. (Yes I know, but humans aren’t very logical.)

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