You and your Neighbour
Disputes between neighbours occur only too easily; it is advisable for house-holders to know how the law regards them1.
The Home of Today mentions several 'debatable matters' but none of them appears to apply to my particular situation.
One of the less delightful features of my dear little flat in South-West France is that I am obliged to share use of what The Home of Today refers to as the 'Water Closet' in the corridor with my neighbour. As I am feeling in a relatively generous mood, I shall refer to him as Monsieur Le Psycho. En route to this area of communal contemplation, I passed by the forbidding bulk of The Wardrobe, which, for reasons unknown to myself, lurks in the hallway, along with various bicycles etc.
Ominous scratching noises were emerging from this object.
A million dodgy horror film plots flashed before my eyes, but after all, 'I am British;' what ho! and possessed at times of a stiff upper lip2; therefore I opened the door and discovered...
A small, brown, cardboard box tied up with string.
'This is beginning to sound like the musical score for The Sound of Music.' I thought; and proceeded to open the box - as Hughie Green was wont to say.
Yes, yes, I know you are warned not to do this sort of thing, but hell, I am more influenced by Alice in Wonderland than official advice from the Foreign Office. Inside were four live and extremely displeased pigeons.
The logical thing to do seemed to be to present the problem to my landlord, a dour soul whom I shall refer to as Monsieur Le Prop. He assured me 'C'est normale; pas de probleme'.
Well, it ain't normal pour moi, mate, and the poor bloody pigeons definitely seem to feel they have a problem!
I gave them some muesli and water, re-strung(!) them and informed them they had better start thinking fairly seriously about matters of a spiritual nature; having personally witnessed the unsuccessful attempts of 2000 snails to liberate themselves from a large saucepan. If these were homing pigeons, I would blame the one who said 'turn left!'.
I decided to see if The Home of Today had any advice on what to do with the stray creatures who seem to turn up in my life... remind me to tell you about the rabbit in the public toilet sometime... and the Pyrenean Mountain dog...
Where was I?
'Pigeons: Adjuncts to: (tame or Bordeaux)3.'
Well, since I am within spitoon distance of Bordeaux and they didn't actually bite me, I suppose they could be either.
'Gravy, toasted bread and watercress.'
How disappointing, I was expecting to see pigeon pie. I would have been far more excited if it had been some sort of:
'Wild Duck and Widgeon: orange sauce, gravy, sometimes an orange salad.'
And the inevitable water-cress; perhaps it attaches itself to their feet? Oh well, I live in hope of one day finding some sort of Wilde duck4 upon my doorstep. Actually, if there were three of them, I could nail them to the wall and make one of those nice Muriels that Hilda had in Coronation Street...
Ah Muriel, Hilda!!! What delicious names...
*drifts off into nostalgic reverie; drifts back again into 21st Century long enough to google a website.*
Muriel: Gaelic, meaning = 'bright sea.'
Hilda: Germanic, meaning = 'battle.'
Of couse, you all know that Fanny, being the feminine, diminutive form of Francis, originated in the Latin for 'Frenchman' didn't you? (debates link, decides against it)
And that Titty is a pet form of Letitia, meaning 'joy and happiness?'
Joy and happiness, how lovely! Wish there was more of it about!
One more smashing name, which resonates with this, I discovered in The School Friend Annual of 1956, unfortunately 'was not found in this database', however, it can definitely be found on this website!
'Bubbles is very impulsive and liable to get into all sorts of scrapes, so I feel I have to keep an eye on her... sometimes she 'gets away with it' because she's so gay and popular6'
Let's get back to the pigeons. Let us assume they are Bordeaux. Cripes! No reference to Bordeaux in The Home of Today; but they do have 'Clary wine' listed under old farmhouse recipes. These all go on a bit (unlike me!), but Clary wine involves 2 gallons of clary flowers, stripped from their stems. Ooer, Julian, I think I'd rather consult Mr Boothby7 if it's all the same to you; here's one you might fancy:
An English term for champagne. When a Briton has a load of the vintage on board, he is liable to say that he is full of 'The Boy'.
I see. There seems to be a lot of this sort of thing in The Honourable Mr Boothby's world. If you ask me very nicely, I might even pass on the recipe for:
Cucumber: The Willie Boy's Favourite