Saturday, 13 July 2013

More German humour


This weir provides a constant  undercurrent of soft noise at the front of our place, as well as a communal bath-house for all the gulls in the neighbourhood. It changes colour by the week as well - at the moment it has the mid-summer hue of moss-agate.

Every time I renew our contents insurance, the woman on the other end of the phone asks if our compact but adorable city apartment is within 400 metres of water, and I reply that although it is, if we were to get flooded, then so would the entire county of Somerset. Only the communications mast on the highest point of the Mendip Hills would be visible.

It is ironic that the most beautiful places in a landscape are also the most dangerous, as they often involve great heights or large volumes of water. I have seen two people die here - one who dived from the wall where this photo was taken and hit rocks only two feet beneath the surface, and another who drowned in her upturned canoe as her companions paddled all around her, unaware of her plight. This is going to sound a very morbid thing to say on such a sunny afternoon, but death is such a strange thing to contemplate, especially when it is offset by paradoxical humour.

Thomas and me were walking to the pub the day before yesterday when we saw a slow-witted pigeon get struck by a car. It flopped about horribly on the pavement as we approached, turning involuntary somersaults as it tried to take to the sky in vain. A couple of women were standing near it, wondering what to do.

We took it into a nearby car park and finished it off as gently as possible. Unfortunately, there can be nothing gentle about this sort of thing, but it's the thought that counts.

Later in the pub, I told Thomas the story of how I humanely dispatched a wood pigeon out at my workshop which had been left in a field by a hawk when it's breakfast was interrupted by a human.

One of the guys out there is a keen bird-watcher, and a vegetarian who abhors guns and all they stand for. It was him who called me that day, asking me to bring in a shotgun to finish the stricken bird off, as he could not bear to watch it all day or finish it off himself.

Of course, using a gun on a static pigeon could well be described as over-kill when a good whack with a stick would do the job more quietly, but I brought a gun in anyway, just because I wanted the vegetarian to understand that they did indeed have their uses sometimes - and he asked me to, which was too much of an intriguing and out-of-character request from him not to oblige.

I knocked on his door whilst holding a little .410, and shouted, "It's the vet!" Then I crept up behind it and popped it off.

When I told Thomas this story, he came up with a brilliant suggestion which I wish I had thought of at the time.

"You should have got him to throw it into the air for you and have a bit of sport at the same time," he said, adding, "Sometimes it is best to lose some respect in these situations."


19 comments:

  1. My little 5'0" granny used to make us walk for miles in the country near her Braceby house. We would often see rabbits being with Myxomatosis suffering in the hedgerows. My Granny would put them out of their misery with an ease that shocked us as children.

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    1. It would have been worse to see your Gran hysterically doing it!

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  2. Why is the Bath weir so extensive and complicated? All in the name of aesthetics perhaps?

    I've twice recently had to dispatch suffering animals; a deer and a badger. Not pleasant, but essential.

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    1. It used to be a straight diagonal, but this somehow distributes the flow better. All to do with the flood prevention gate, apparently.

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  3. On our farm over the last 18 years we've put a few critters down. One year we had an injured rabbit and hubs just for some reason could not whack it hard enough to stop its screaming. Out of frustration I yanked it from it, wrenched the bunnies neck and flounced off. (me, not the rabbit) My husband has always slept with one eye open ever since.

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    1. That's the worst - when you can't seem to make a clean job of it (your husband, not the rabbit).

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  4. O M G - I seem to be always using these three little letters in your posts lately! (actually - quite funny though.) Often death is better treated with humour - it is easier to take.

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    1. Certainly if it's your job. I used to work at a monumental masons with a funeral directors in the same yard. The masons were miserable to a man, but the funeral blokes were always laughing and joking.

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    2. Weaver: WRT using OMG - NVM! It just means that you're very current. TTFN

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    3. I hardly understand myself what I just said.

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    4. Just say what you mean, Iris...

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  5. I thought a weir was simply another name for a waterfall. Never looked it up till now. Apparently the river has been controlled by a weir for centuries, but built diagonally until this one. I certainly is impressive. A lot of nice you tube stuff out there about the river and the weir.

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    1. I have never looked up a weir anywhere, but I might do now.

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    2. You could easily look up that one. And down.

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  6. Last year whilst out walking with my female friend, her dog a proper ratter of a terrier managed to catch a rabbit.It seemed my (10 yr old GSD)was sniffing one side of a hedge and put this rabbit up straight into the jaws of the terrier. The terrier did what any dog would do grabbed it and started to give it a good shaking. My friend screamed at her dog to drop it and unlikely as it seems the dammed dog did. To see this poor rabbit trying to run with such terrible injuries was bad enough but her dog was looking too brow beaten and so stood and did nothing. I had to quickly send my GSD to go after it and finish the job. Now that was harsh to watch and made worse by the fact that she immediately set about eating it without actually finishing it off first.
    My friend admitted that she regretted calling her dog off- the dog hadn't chased it- it had run into her jaws.

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    1. Yes, there is a golden rule - never interrupt a raptor or carnivore before it has finished killing an animal, as it only makes the situation 10 times worse than us humans are used to.

      This is what animals do. It is also what humans do, except we employ other humans (and animals) to do it for us. Us meat-eaters are so out of touch with the natural world.

      I was a vegetarian for 7 years, but ate meat again once I took on full responsibility for it. I do NOT shoot things for 'sport' though, like any good Moslem.

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  7. When I was 7, an uncle took me and my sister (4) to the Hamburgian slaughterhouse, and we had to see how they killed a horse. Being an eidetic I don't forget the last gasp of it - the movement very similar to a motorcyclist I once saw having an accident, falling up and backwards from his machine. I saw a chicken they decapitated, and it ran further like Stoertebecker, they say he walked headless the line of his comrades he could thus save. Glad to say these were the only incidents I saw that life was taken (except a few wasp and gnats I killed - when they attacked me). I am no vegetarian and will not be - as long as I don't have to kill the animals myself, which I know is morally not OK - the job of a poor butcher is one that comes very near to my image of hell.

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