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A Tramp-Like Bird of Prey Abroad

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. So, while I continue to enjoy the Annual Birds of Prey Convention over here in the United Kingdom of Turkey Vultures, Buzzards, and Lesser Birds of Prey, Hummingbird informs me that the rains have finally arrived in the Valley. Long may that continue, although it will be some time before approaching the levels of devastating affects that torrential rains and gale force winds are causing over here.

The coastlines across the pond are undergoing a major battering and the rivers are breaking their banks in the south, with the lowlands (or Levels, as they are called) in the county of Somerset a virtual island at this time. Needless to say, the English are moaning and accepting at the same time, their stiff upper lips to the fore, resigned to their mantra of “keeping calm and carrying on,” and always making sure to take a break for a nice cup of tea at around 3pm.

What better refuge from the elements than a pub?! As has been the case for centuries, the pubs are most welcoming, particularly those outside the trendy city center areas, those that provide a warm and cozy atmosphere somewhat representative of local people’s living rooms. With quality beers and ales from every tap, none with fruity flavors or overly hoppy — you know, “proper” beers, and simple late night pub fayre such as cheese and onion cobs (rolls) or scratchings (fried pork skins), it’s like sitting in your own home with a bunch of friends and being served a perfect combination of food and drink. Why would you leave? Well, you don’t have to. With “after-hours” available to those “locked in” after the official 11pm closing time, when the curtains are closed and the ashtrays come out, those remaining inside can continue with their fascinating conversations about “What makes a real English breakfast?” “How will England do in the World Cup this summer?” “Does anyone care if Scotland becomes independent?” “Is the friendly barmaid in the low cut blouse staring at me or is it wishful thinking?” Etc, etc. By 2am these questions have all been answered and it’s time to get a taxi home. one that can carry six inebriated friends to their abodes not more than a couple of miles away. It’s a civilized way to live, I must say, even without the friendly barmaid.

Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready. #121. This Saturday, February 15 at The Grange in Philo, the AV Education Foundation will present their 2014 marquee event. “Heads-Up. Back by Peculiar Demand” featuring stars of film, television, and stage, Valley resident René Auberjonois and his good friend Howard Hesseman. These two appeared here for the same cause a couple of years ago in what was a wonderful evening of entertainment and now have a new “set” that they will be presenting exclusively for the Valley, the profits from which will go to high school student scholarships, summer internships, and student and classroom grants. The event will feature a Happy Hour with drinks and appetizers at 7pm with the show following at 8pm. For advanced tickets ($25 adults; $10 Under 18), call Lanny at 895-2644 or Dick at 895-2561. Meanwhile check out the questionnaires posed by Steve Sparks to the two stars in this week’s newspaper. #122. The monthly “Open Mic” night at Lauren’s restaurant in Boonville resumes this Saturday, February 15 at 9pm. All are welcome. musicians, singers, poets, writers, impressionists, magicians, comedians, actors, fire-eaters, pole dancers, sword swallowers, ventriloquists, raconteurs, exotic dancers, animal callers, etc. No clowns. Apparently they would scare any kids who might be there. And no mimes, please. They scare me! #123. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will be in town at the AV Farm on one more occasion this month. Thursday, February 20. Call 462-8833 for further details. They set up at the AV Farm Supply from 2-3.30pm and to avoid a line perhaps go around 3pm. You will definitely be seen. New customers and their pets are always welcome. #124. The 23rd annual Variety Show is just a few weeks away. Fri/Sat Mar 7/8. #125. Need a burn permit? You can get one from the Firehouse in Boonville, also home of the oddly named Community Services District (CSD) which, for those of you wondering, deals with all issues connected with the fire department, our local airport, the recreation activity, and those street lights in the center of our heaving metropolis. Call 895-2075 for any questions regarding any of these services or stop by. You will be efficiently served with a smile. Here is the menu for the Community Lunches over the next week at the Senior Center at the Veterans Hall in Boonville. The Center asks for a $6 donation from Seniors and charges $7 for Non-Seniors. Tomorrow, Thursday, February 13, the lunch, always served by Marti Titus and her crew at 12.15pm, will be Spaghetti, green beans, Garlic Bread, Faro Salad, and Tiramisu for dessert . Then next Tuesday, February 18, the menu will feature Jared’s clam Chowder, Garlic Bread, Broccoli Salad, Wheat Berry Salad, Apple Spinach Salad, with Banana Pudding dessert. Remember, all ages welcome!

Topics and events under discussion at The Three-Dot Pub. Yes, “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant (and often Reliable) Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the heart of England, where people get together and share their thoughts about life in “This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle; this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars; this other Eden, demi-paradise; this fortress built by Nature for herself against infection and the hand of war. This happy breed of men, this little world; this precious stone set in the silver sea, which serves it in the office of a wall, or as a moat defensive to a house against the envy of less happier lands,  This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.”

…“I guess it’s an Americanism. Part 1.” I offered the Wise English Owl a “warm-up” this morning. I was obviously referring to her half-empty cup of coffee. But, taking a brief break from her crossword and peering at me over her spectacles, she stated in a somewhat aloof manner, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

…Mythbuster of the Week. “The English are not particularly polite.” In fact when they get behind the wheel of a car some of them become downright rude and aggressive. I thought you should know.

…The National Health Service and the coverage it provides for the citizens of Britain often bends but it does not break. The care is as good as anywhere else, free or astronomically expensive, and every first world country should surely have one. Almost all of them already do.

Time to take my leave. The chip butty (French fry sandwich) is ready. So, until we talk again. Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; and may your god go with you. A final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters or at PPS. Keep on wagging that tail, Fred. … Is that “lafter” I hear, Carroll? … Keep up the good work, Round-eyed Robin.

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