This is not really the sort of phrase I thought I would ever hear in Listershire, but Father Audrey is very excited by the news that the world famous conservationist (and Native American cross-dresser) Teat Owl is lecturing in the county most shortly. Teat is the son of the illustrious Grey Teat Owl, father being originally from Hustings in Sou'Saxon, and so son is returning to tour old family haunts, including our humble village hall. Naturally he brings his pet semi-aquatic rodent, the oddly named Aleksandr Mere-kit, and it is this opportunity, of seeing his first beaver, that excites Audrey;- so much so he hopes for the chance to feed it, especially as he thinks I will put in a good word for him as I have been asked to give a small blessing and then compere the Mere-kit and his handler for the evening.
For myself, I am in two minds about such showmanship. That Grey Teat Owl, an Englishman by the name of Archie, had to pretend he was of the First Nations blood in order to bring the masses a message to conserve nature is such an odd thing.
But then he and his son are not alone in doing so.
Miss Emily Williamson of the Plumage League (to whom, you will recall, I supply my garden counts) has told me her own organisation is now embarking on such subterfuge. They are in the process of allying themselves with the Fur and Feather League of Sarf London, to form a new "Society for the Protection of Fowle". (You may have heard? Mr Cajun-Aviary has also mentioned it of late; he has been promoting discourse on the announcement of the venture after they advertised in the Thunderer, under the banner headline of "If you shoot it, they will wear it" and with an additional slogan of "Not making wildlife a hat".)
It seems this fledgling "spf" (never "SPF" I am told, as this looks much too shouty to be considered ladylike) actually plans not only to quell feathery fashion in this way, but also to actively protect nature.
Protect? Why perceive such a need, when we have not even fully tamed it yet? No, I am not sure changes like this are for the best. They do say this will bring new support from the man in the gutter, but it will surely lose support among the landed gentry once policy becomes well known. But then they need pennies from as many paupers as possible to meet their new Mission statement (they wish for a new, bigger Mission Hall, a larger Tea Room, and a fully-stocked Ironmongery & Seed and Corn Shoppe at their planned Grimsmere reserve).
Why Miss Emily, like Owls Junior and Senior, hides her true appearance when public speaking now, 'manning-up' by calling herself in all matters fps "Mrs Robert Williamson". Well I must say she looks nothing of the sort(!) I have known RW since boarding days and, whilst he carried a bodice well and high when soprano in Operetta, he certainly has never once owned such a commanding mustache as Emily now hides behind.
Why this need to dress up what is needed? Are our fellow citizens so morally bankrupt they need the twirl of a petticoat, the hirsuite face of total authority and the titivation of the glimpse of beaver just to get them passionate? The notion is all too much for me. The Good Lord never went in for magick, he just stuck to good old loaves and fishes. I think I will decline the compering offer from the Owl, and young Audrey will have to chance his arm alone.