Wednesday 2 November 2011

What I mean by eccentric...

When we were living in the UK some years back, eccentricity was everywhere.
I don't see it much here.
But then... We live on the Gold Coast. Hardly weirdo city.

In just a few months of living in the UK:

1) There was a religious bookshop which we passed each time we did shopping. They sold "The Manga Bible." Wish I'd bought a copy. Unfortunately they didn't have the illustrated Koran, or any version of “Buddha Monopoly,” or even “Risk: The Valhalla Edition.”

2) We saw an ad for a butcher in Truro who sold fried squirrel. Apparently he can’t shoot enough of the little furry fuzz-balls. He spends all weekend taking potshots at squirrels when they stop moving - you know the “moment” when they look like as Eddie Izzard says “Have I left the gas on?” And on Monday morning he takes the lot in and dresses them  (the butchering term, not as in waistcoats - although the thought of purchasing a cute little squirrel in a top hat and tails and roasting it in the oven does have a certain appeal) and sells the lot on the first day.

3) One night I was stuck behind this rather beaten up old transit van emblazoned with the logo for a major company named HazMat... Ah... Now to avoid legal issues, I’ll forgo completing that name because I like my freedom. And speaking of freedom, underneath the logo where the words “Door to Door Service - Hazardous Materials and Explosives.” So I can order dynamite door to door? Yoikes. Freedom is such a wonderful thing.

4) Prince William landed a helicopter in his girlfriends back yard! Kewl! But he’s being criticized for it! What? No! We need more of this, not less. Personally I think I’d like to see more of this kind of stuff. Wouldn’t it make life more interesting if we saw the Queen shooting pheasants in Hyde Park? Or the Duke of Edinburgh driving a tank through the East End? Or even, and don’t think me silly, what about the Prince of Wales doing an organic cooking chat show? Now what’s wrong with that? I’d love it!

5) Apparently there are some 10,000 foxes living in London. That’s 16 foxes per square mile apparently. Well maybe in the centre of London but there’s still a pretty dense population down here. And I’m including the foxes of course. And various methods of controlling them have occurred over the years. The problem is that lethal control is completely ineffective. Most councils have abandoned trapping and shooting them because it just increases the surviving vixens birth rate. I found one interesting piece of news however. Apparently MAFF abandoned the practice of killing foxes in the 1970s because it was concluded that the most effective form of lethal control was the car.

6) I stumbled across an English website dedicated to “Christians against Mental Slavery.” Oooookaaay. Sounds self defeating to me. Apparently they want it to be a crime for anyone to monitor or influence human thought with the use of technology without consent. So, their website itself and of course CCTV in the Holy See is right out, I suppose.

7) A news story I found interesting is one where about the number of “gardening injuries.” 87,000 in the UK in one year apparently. 6,500 people hurt themselves with lawnmowers and 5,300 by flowerpots. Ok. Let’s see... That’s roughly 18 people a day cutting toes off with lawnmowers and 15 a day getting hit with flowerpots. Curious. Roughly one Alan Titchmarsh effect per hour.

8) Some dude at a hotel suddenly decided he was peckish and jumped into an ornamental pond in the lobby and bit the head off a duck. Apparently he said “I was hungry.” Lord knows I get a tad hungry in some hotels, but what must the cuisine be like in their restaurant if the clientele prefer raw duck?

9) Saw a story about a hedgehog that wandered into someone's laundry, took a nap in a basket of clothes and ended up being washed for an hour. It has been named “Persil” and according to a wildlife hospital manager came out squeaky clean and without fleas. B suggested that since he been in a 40C washer for an hour he should really have been named “Asbestos.”

10) We went into Tesco to get the staples of life and I saw some perfect examples of the highest exposition of English culture: “French Red Wine in Cans” and cans with just the words “Strong Lager” on them - with only the tiniest of Tesco branding on it. Perfect. Says it all really.

11) There was a competition for a national motto for England. Mainly because the motto for the British Virgin Islands is “Be Watchful?” For what? And the Isle of Mans’ is “Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand.” Presumably it has a lead weight at its base. And Scotland’s is “No one provokes me with impunity.” Now that one makes sense. Just go and provoke a Scotsman to see what I mean. You’ll get Impugned all right. I can see it now, and you have to do this with a Scottish accent: “Eh. This Sassenach spilt my pint, so I impugned him right enough Jimmy.”

12) I tried to take down some garbage one day. Bad move. Wow what a mess. B came down with me and we noticed that the rats have built tunnels under the main path. So he started whistling the tune from “The Great Escape” and made comments like “Hey ratty, there’s been a cave-in on tunnel 4. We’ll have to open tunnel 3 again” in a squeaky voice. He also started looking for little piles of earth and miniature gymnastics equipment.

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