My (current) favourite dog walking area has the terrific advantage of being a sheep-free zone. The obvious benefit is that dogs can run off-lead without any concerns about sheep worrying. The less obvious advantage is that it prevents my Border Collie, @calliebordeaux, from indulging in one of her favourite-but-gross pastoral activities; eating sheep sh*t.
Unfortunately, horse riders can also use the woodland tracks and that means there are occasional piles of horse poo to negotiate. Horse poo is also a savoury delight according to Callie, but such piles are usually obvious enough to be seen in time for me to distract her with a treat before she can indulge her gastronomic passion.
On a recent walk, however, I was talking to a friend and failed to see Callie head towards a heap of it. Too late, I saw her chomping down on some, but what was most galling wasn’t the act itself, but the knowing and wholly gratuitous way that she looked at us afterwards as she gleefully licked her lips. Double gross!
When your supply of sheep sh*t runs dry There’s alternatives on which to rely So don’t cash in your chips Why not just lick your lips ‘Cos horse poo will help you get by!
Postscript: like some others, this week’s ALAW requires an accompanying narrative for it to make any kind of sense. But some of them can be tweaked to remove any need for context and can be read standalone. This week’s is a good example, ergo…
When your supply of tequila runs dry There’s alternatives on which to rely So don’t cash in your chips Why not just lick your lips ‘Cos absinthe will help you get by!
So, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight of the Order of Australia, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Lord of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Councillor of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom …
… has died at the age of 99.
I’m not a monarchist, but I did once meet him in the line of duty when I staffed a display stand about the scientific fish stock assessments of North Sea demersal gadoids (ie, cod, haddock and whiting). My first reaction was how small he was; très petit.
The display boards were mounted on the old Fisheries Research Vessel Clupea that was berthed in Aberdeen harbour for the occasion. Our comms person of the time had decided it would be a good idea if the Clupea could be filmed by the TV news media whilst on the move, so we did a partial tour of the harbour whilst I tried to explain to HRH, in as few words as possible, what was meant by “when we’ve caught them all, we know how many there were”.
HRH wasn’t at all interested in such plebian fish and simply commented with a pithy “I prefer salmon”. Perhaps I should have replied with “and I prefer republics!”.
Here’s the limerick:
There once was a monarchist clique That maintained a royalist mystique But it’s all come to nought For our Queen’s prince consort ‘Cos it’s ‘αντιο σας, Phil the Greek’
(from Dr Google, αντιο σας [antio sas] is Greek for ‘goodbye’)
The online Metro picked up last week on some news from the USA where a bloke called Erik presented himself to his local ER with his ‘member’ firmly lodged in a hole that he’d cut through a door in order to fit a new doorknob.
It appears that he’d consumed a viagra-like product before being ‘enticed’ by his partner from the other side of the door. You can read more about it here.
And this is the limerick:
A chap downed a chemical essence That produced a priapic tumescence. He then rogered the door And shouted-out “Phwoar!” As the keyhole clasped tight his excrescence!
I had my first covid vaccination last week and, as with the flu jab at the end of last year, I was amazed that I never felt the needle go in.
That was unlike the time that I sliced into my left index finger with a fish gutting knife and required several stitches followed by both a tetanus and a triplopen jab into my left bum cheek.
The triplopen hurt so much that I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg and, having walked purposefully into A&E with a bloodied hand, I came out limping heavily. As Corporal Jones would say, “They don’t like it up ’em!” and neither did I!
Here’s the limerick…
A doctor was asked would she come To a man with a badly cut thumb. She put in some stitches Then pulled down his britches For a triplopen shot in the bum!
No sooner had Callie, my border collie, recovered from her runny tummy (see last week’s post), than mine came out in sympathy, so this week’s limerick is unfortunately on the same topic, but I promise that it will be the last scatological verse for a good while.
His tum caused enormous disruption That continued without interruption ‘Cos a case of the trots Meant he ‘went’ lots and lots And dreaded the next mass eruption!
Having spent a sleepless 48 hours nursing a dog with rampant diarrhoea and cleaning up and hosing her down after each episode (fourteen in all!), I hope you’ll forgive the base nature of this week’s ALAW.
I just had to get it out of my system (as, clearly, did Callie!).
A collie with runaway squits Had no care as to what she emits, But she’d later confess That the faecal excess Arose from a case of the sh*ts!
However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light – Stanley Kubrick
In my previous life as a fishery scientist I was, for a few years, one of a couple of Marine Laboratory staff whose remit included sharks, skates and rays.
One thing that I recall from those days is searching through our old registry files to inform myself of some earlier correspondence on shark fisheries around Scotland. In doing so I chanced upon a letter in which a member of the armed forces had asked for some information on sourcing a particular type of shark skin.
The problem was that he didn’t know which type of shark the skin had come from, so could the Lab help as it was needed to refurbish the handles of his regiment’s 19th century ceremonial swords.
The Lab’s response was given by one of its elders, an old-school naturalist and a gushing fount of arcane knowledge; the sort of scientist that is now deprecated due the focus on quantitative rather than qualitative methods, and the need to posit testable hypotheses rather than to speculate upon observations (necessary, perhaps, but rather charmless).
Anyway, our old-school guru was able to tell the armourer that the species in question was the kitefin shark, Dalatias licha. I don’t recall what resulted from that correspondence, but I do know that Pooley Sword in the south of England is the ‘goto’ company for the UK’s military swords, and its website states that, even today, when refurbished “the grip core is carved from wood, then covered in fish-skin before being bound with gold or silver-plated wire”.
I don’t know if the ‘fish-skin’ to which Pooley Sword refers is from the kitefin shark as the species is currently classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN and, in Scotland at least, it is not allowed to be landed under the Sharks, Skates and Rays (Prohibition of Fishing, Trans-shipment and Landing) (Scotland) Order 2012.
So why this diversion down memory lane? Well, recent deep water research off New Zealand has shown that the kitefin shark is luminous in deep water. Fancy us not knowing that until now! In fact, it is now the world’s largest known luminous vertebrate and casts its own light into the dark.
Here’s the limerick…
A diver once dove to embark On a trip to the depths cold and stark But was given a fright In the absence of light By a shark that shone bright in the dark!
Postscript: In writing the musings above, I wanted to check whether I should write “a fount of arcane knowledge” or a font of arcane knowledge”.
I thought it should be the former, but as the latter is widely used I also thought I should check. It seems that I was right and, in that context, ‘font is a ‘mondegreen’ whereby a word or phrase is misheard or misinterpreted in a way that may make sense, but is incorrect. Mondegreens usually arise from misheard song lyrics and the first that I recall was from the Terry Wogan Breakfast Show in the 1970s when a line from the Kenny Rogers song ‘Lucille’ that read “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille, with four hungry children and a crop in the field” was mischievously misheard by Wogan as “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille, with four hundred children and a crop in the field”.
Apparently the word ‘mondegreen’ is itself a mondegreen and formed the basis of the term when a line in the song The Bonnie Earl O’Moray was misheard by Sylvia Wright, an American writer who, when a child, instead of hearing:
They hae slain the Earl o’Moray, And laid him on the green;
later wrote that she heard:
They hae slain the Earl o’ Moray, And Lady Mondegreen;
My favourite mixing up of words is not strictly a mondegreen, but relates to the name of George Harrison’s supergroup, The Travelling Wilburys. The Wilbury part of the name came from Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame) who pointed out that when mastering recordings, a minor issue on one track was no reason to re-record it as “we’ll bury it in the mix” and such an imperfection had become known as a Wilbury as in “wilbury it in the mix”. I like that story!
My offspring are Scots of an Anglo/Czech and Irish/Italian descent that arises from a blend of political refugees, displaced persons, economic migrants … and Geordies.
Each of their grandparents’ has a story to tell. The one that I know best is of my paternal grandfather and I thought I’d pen something of his story and the rôles played by two largely unheralded women in (i) keeping him (and many others) out of harms way and (ii) supporting him and his family (along with others) as refugees in the UK.
We once visited friends who had asked in advance which breakfast cereal Firstborn and the Tall Child preferred. Towards the end of our stay they remarked that they’d thought ’48’ was the number of biscuits in a carton of Weetabix and not the number of hours it took for my offspring to finish the lot of them.
So, the product doesn’t need to be marketed on our account, but I suspect that whichever agency supports the current Weetabix advertising campaign will be feeling pretty chuffed by the social media pile-on that arose from its tweet promoting ‘beans on bix’ for your morning brekky. Just google ‘weetabix’ and ‘beans’ to see the PR triumph that it spawned. Here’s the tweet that started it:
And here’s the limerick:
A chef got himself in a fix When he added some beans to the mix ‘Cos he felt quite morose When the outcome was gross, So never put beans on your Weetabix!