I was rather surprised to find that my encounter with the dying sheep (June 29th) seemed more popular with my regular readers (both of them) than my much livelier Sex-organs (June 27th). Obviously that needs rephrasing, but you know what I mean. Could this perhaps have been due to an occult residual fondness for the English football team, who recently played like dead sheep in the World Cup, or is it that in Guardian-reading bloggers, there is a collective folk-memory, a lingering longing in the deep subconscious for the politician Geoffrey Howe who was said by Denis Healey to behave at the Despatch Box of the House with all the savagery of a dead sheep, but nevertheless with his last gasp he managed to dispatch Margaret Thatcher in fine style.
An example of this fascination with dying sheep and their effluent came from my friend Richard, who suggested that instead of Brussels paying farmers a subsidy for set-aside land, they should pay them to keep Texel sheep, then turn them on their backs occasionally and use the resulting effluent gases as a source of renewable energy. He cited the little known fact that near the Savoy Hotel in London is a street called Carting Lane, known to the locals as Farting Lane. In that street there was once a Webber gas lamp, which was powered by the methane gas from the sewers which carried the ordure from the guests of the Savoy Hotel. One day a motorist reversed his car into the illuminating lamppost and the pedestrian population, overcome by the offensive whiffs of the toffs, demanded that the lamp be powered thenceforth by natural gas, which it was, to the detriment of our planet.
I thought that would be a very interesting idea for the Green Party to consider, when next they debate what to do with their ordure. And ordure (shit) is itself an interesting word (Latin ord - foul). Have you noticed that when the Speaker of the House of Commons intervenes in a spirited debate he shouts “Ordure, Ordure”. And he’s generally right, it is.
My friend Richard is keen to publish a book of such stories about London and I told him that if he produced 100 such stories, I’d publish it for him.
He then sent me a charming little poem about a Flatulent Nun from Hawaii, with an execrable rhyme in the second line (she allegedly supped on papaya), but in the 3rd line 'Passover' certainly rhymes well with the 4th line ('ass over'), and I have no quarrel whatever with 'papaya' and the resulting 'Handel’s Messiah' which was probably a delightful musical experience.
“Ooh, Richard, you are awful, …but I do like you!” (Kenny Everett).
Richard tells me I bring out the worst in people, which may be true. Boring old farts that we are.
Anyway I explained to him that I only publish books in the best possible taste, suitable perhaps for people with an Oxbridge education. I was thinking of people such as Dr. Spooner, whose half-formed wishes often turned into half-warmed fishes. It was even more embarrassing for the good Dr. when he once described the unwise amatory adventures of one of his fellow dons as ‘one of Cupid’s stunts’. I wonder how he would have responded to Richard’s shafts of wit?