Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Saturday 18 July 2015

Saturday Ruminations

Here at the Tavern, we like to think we are always up to date with the latest squirrel news. However, when two separate stories appeared this week, your humble host was occupied elsewhere and unable to post.

Fortunately Leg-Iron's new partner in crime was much quicker off the mark, citing both of them in a piece on scary animals - an inclusion with which I heartily concur. Don't be fooled by pictures of impossibly adorable babies falling out of trees; it's all part of their sinister plan to put us off our guard.

Each of us presumably has a similar rogues' gallery of animals to be regarded with deep suspicion - or is it just me? My own list, based on past experience of being besieged in a remote cottage by an implacable herd of them, would definitely include cows, so I was intrigued to hear someone on the radio this week talking about 'Cow Appreciation Day'.

This seemed a rather un-English concept, despite his exhortation to cherish and value our dairy herds, so I did some research. It turns out to be part of an advertising campaign by an American fast food outlet called - brace yourselves - Chick-fil-A (try saying it aloud in its native Southern accent to get the full impact).

I vaguely remember this from a visit to the States in the late 90s: the adverts feature cows displaying hand- (or hoof-)painted signs saying 'EAT MOR CHIKIN'. Cute, perhaps, and certainly memorable, this slogan is so important to the firm that it has to date successfully prosecuted 30 other companies for infringement - as Wikipedia has it, with no small irony, 'Chick-fil-A vigorously protects its intellectual property'.

On 'Cow Appreciation Day', it seems, customers turning up dressed as cows receive a free Chick-fil-ATM meal - though you have to be thorough; anything less than head-to-hoof costume only gets you a free 'entree'. (My source of information is an American website dedicated to bargain-hunting which invites readers to 'Mark your calendar for these upcoming freebies'; treats in the near future include 7-11's 'Free Slurpee Day', though it doesn't say whether you have to dress up for it.)

Meanwhile, back in the UK, while I can appreciate cows as a source of milk and meat and as a scenic addition to the countryside, albeit preferably at a respectful distance, I hope you will understand if I say they remain at the top of my list of 'animals that creep me out'.


  1. Hmmm..wasn't there a highwayman who turned out to be a woman in Blackadder, who hated squirrels?

  2. Cows are definitely scary. A few people get killed by them every year - usually people who take small dogs into fields where there are cows with calves.

    And we should probably add seagulls to the list.

  3. Rightwinggit, there was indeed:

    "Dead as that squirrel"
    "Which squirrel?"
    "Oh, that squirrel!"


    WY seagulls are definitely the villain du jour - not only are they evil pet-slaughterers, they wake everyone in the vicinity at 5am.

    meanwhile, no piece on cows woulds be complete without reference to the master...

    JH, the film of them playing tail-tennis with baby penguins or teaming up to tip a seal off its icy refuge certainly warrants inclusion. As for rounding on their 'keepers', I'm inclined to think that, if penned up in a swimming pool for years, I might be tempted to take a chink out of someone.


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