Sunday, June 15, 2008


I heard about this on the BBC Radio 3 newsnippet this morning. I have to say, I just shrugged. I've no idea why Christians still attach themselves to the Anglican thing. People are just funny I guess.

Anyway, I was just glancing at Uncle Di's brief coverage where he says, "The UK media are reporting that two gay priests (Anglican) were married last month in England, provoking the predictable journalistic flutter, and a call from the African episcopacy that the Archbishop of Canterbury take steps."

It just reminded me of something.

I lived for a brief time in Canada's arctic. Well, "sub-arctic" technically, and what most people don't understand about the north is that the winters are actually way more fun than the summers. Sure, it's cold, but that's why God gave us Gore-Tex and eider ducks. And wolf pelts. And ski-doo boots.

And guns.

Winter was the time you got to go out and shoot things to eat a lot, which I discovered is incredibly fun.

My family had ten acres of Crown Land (in the days when you could still get Crown Land) that was mostly wooded, next to the river. We did a number of interesting things there: cleared trees and kept huskies and raised bees in the summer. But in the winter it was fun to hunt ptarmigan there.

Now, ptarmigan (no, you don't pronounce the p) are God's dumbest creatures, and as such, I would say, proof that we are supposed to eat meat. They spend the winters scratching through the snow with a specially developed claw, to get at the seeds and buds of the plants. They tend to convene in little ptarmigan social clubs in clearings in the woods, all happily scratching and pecking away. You and your .22 just have to come quietly up to the edge of the trees and settle in. After a few minutes, though they know you're there, they start to ignore you and go back to pecking and scratching.

Then you just pick them off.

You'd think, wouldn't you, that you couldn't get too many by this method. Maybe a couple of shots, before they all went somewhere less hazardous for lunch. But you'd be wrong.

Ptarmigan are dumb as a bag of fluffy-footed hammers. You shoot one, it keels over in a messy heap and all its friends flutter madly about for a few seconds. Then they settle down and start pecking again, as if nothing had happened to Charlie.

Same as when Fred gets it. And George and Hank, and Jake and Tom. If you are having more than two people over to dinner, you could sit there and finish off the whole lot and they wouldn't get the hint.

Anyway, it just popped in there. Journalists fluttering insensibly around like Ptarmigan, soon to be distracted by a new patch of dried berries and seeds.

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