Please do not feed the birds

I arrived in London with a full heart and an empty stomach. I was just twelve years old.
It was to remain that way for several days (being hungry I mean, not being twelve – that lasted all year) until I developed a taste for pigeon. London fattens up a pigeon beautifully.
I’ve lived here now for thirty one years.
I’m not a rich man, but my needs are simple
Never did find no streets of gold, but I have written a best-selling cookbook.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it ?
101 ways to cook a pigeon.

If I’m honest with you, my favourite recipe’s still the very first one : Kentucky Fried Pigeon.

A word about catching pigeons. Don’t kill the first one you catch. He’s probably sick and he don’t make good eating. Him you got to keep alive. You ties a bit of string round his leg and then you lets him wander around near your feet. Now your pigeon’s a real nosey birdie, so them other pigeons is looking at him thinking “Coo I wonder what he knows what we don’t know ?” and soon enough their curiosity gets too much for them and they’s got to swoop down and find out what your first pigeon’s doing.
That’s where you come in with your net. You want a nice big old net, about three foot square so you don’t have to be too accurate with your throwing. A bit of lead shot tied into the edges and you’re ready to snaffle a right good feast.

Now you has got to kill your pigeon. It’s not nice, and I know there’ll be squeamish little birdies out there who don’t like the idea of putting a thin wire around the neck of a wild bird and pulling it hard until it slices clean through the sinews and bones of the pigeon’s neck … But that’s what it takes to slaughter your own pigeon. Besides they squawks rotten if you try and cook ’em live.

Once you got their head off of course the rest is easy.
You gives him a good plucking, then a quick slice with your knife down the front of the chest so he’s opened right up, then a nick at the naughties and a good delve and you’ve got his innards in the palm of your hand.
If they don’t come out first time, never mind. Wet your forefinger (get him good and wet mind, your pidgy wont thank you for bad lubrication) and shove good and hard up your pigeon’s posterior, and pull. His innards’ll be his outwards in no time.
Don’t throw ’em away mind, cause they makes for a very happy cat … and if you’re buying my second cookbook, you’ll be needing a lot of happy cats.

Now. Coat your pidgy in lard and flour, douse him generous with salt and pepper, then bung him in the vat of bubbling lard till he’s golden scrumptious.
Kentucky Fried Pigeon. It’s finger licking good.


500 words on the keyword “Forbidden” for #FairytaleFriday

Gerry goes to the library at break time. The other boys go back to the dayroom and talk about Mr Ralph’s impossible maths tests or who’s got detention this Thursday. There are pints of milk downed and handfuls of digestives shovelled into hungry mouths. It’s loud and boisterous and to all the boys in the dayroom, perfectly normal.
Gerry’s in the library. He didn’t turn left on the way out of the classroom block. He didn’t jostle down the hall through the house next door to his, bouncing the fire doors off their buffers into the boys behind. He just clutched his books to his chest and without even looking up, walked forward into the cloisters, opened the oak door at the bottom of the library steps and then ran, two grey stone steps at a time, up to the library. He walked in, was relieved to see that one of the four big chairs in periodicals was free, grabbed Time magazine and sank into the seat.

Time magazine … dense articles about American politics, opinionated news about goings on in the world from an American point of view. Fantastic photography that transported you to Berlin or Moscow or Oregon – as if they all had equal heft in the scales of global politics. Gerry didn’t pretend to understand politics, to be honest he didn’t even pretend to be interested in it, but he was interested in being out there in the world, through the thin, grainy pages of Time magazine following the waves of oily vapour that seemed to float off the newsprint to somewhere that wasn’t bloody here.

The red second hand on the electric clock on the wall didn’t tick from second to second. It smeared around the face with no respect for the orderly division of time. As it swept past twelve the minute hand woke up and jumped forward a step before settling down for a well earned rest. The hour hand was just plain sneaky. Obviously it was moving, because if you ignored it for a while it wasn’t in the same place as when you last looked, but you never actually saw it move. Devious.

Time magazine was not distracting enough today. It was coming second to a timepiece in an attention grabbing race. American elections were disappointingly bloodless and pointless compared to British politics. It seemed to Gerry that the protagonists just wanted to move the dials on tax and welfare to their own favourite spot, and not where the other lot left it.

The minute hand whittled another notch out of breaktime, another step closer to French and Latin.

Gerry straightened his back, lifted his head and took a deep breath.
Never mind. Term ends in eight weeks.
He could fly home then and see Mom and Dad and the girls.
He stood, put Time back on the rack.
No tears now. Not here.
Not ever.