The Twitcher 21 Feb 2013
Christmas is just 191 shopping days away, so this is a good week to lay something bye. Or someone, depending on your inclination. Or luck. More importantly, the Clarens Craft Beer Festival starts tomorrow with no end in sight for the plethora of hangovers expected on the Square. As the good and the great (and the thirsty) flock into town, our thoughts turn to Cynthia, the white swan reported missing from the zoo at Bruce Weyer’s little weekend hideaway on the lake, just last week. Cynth was thought to be nesting and so concerns were muted. But the discovery, by your earnest scribe, of some VERY LARGE white feathers on the trail above the village and a set of what might be liberally described as VERY BIG footprints disappearing into the undergrowth, paint a very different picture. …..(continued from main page)…… On the face of it, the evidence suggests that our very own Kaalvoet seems to have developed an appetite for game birds, starting with Bruce’s cuddly little long-necked swan. If this theory is correct, the duck and swan population at Lake Clarens may be under threat. Alternatively, someone VERY BIG may have snuck into town, bent on a mouthful of feathery fun. Whichever the case, it is no longer safe for birds of a gamey nature to meet together for a chat and a snooze on the waters of our founding fathers’ lake. So, what is to be done, one innocently asks? First, we should summon the cavalry: The SAPS have their very own mounted unit, under the command of a Veldkornet, which lives across the way in Qwa Qwa. Surely they should ride to the rescue and pick up the tracks of the phantom Swan Canoodler sooner rather than later. After all, the thought of Bruce lying awake at night is too much to bear! Second, we should offer a reward for the (mis?)apprehension of Kaalvoet. If anyone has any money left after a weekend of carousing on the square, this should be sent to The Twitcher without delay. I can’t guarantee that it will be used for the purpose intended and don’t have a registration number for the receipt of public monies, but I can promise that I will think hard about the problem while drinking it away. Third, we could simply pretend this never happened and that there is not a 2.3 metre tall monster lurking in the Holkrantz. It’s a bit of a stretch, I grant you, but so much less demanding. So, that’s settled then. Send some money and we’ll buy another swan. I have been inundated by readers concerned about the fate of our cute Common Myna bird population, by the bye. I can report that they are lousy eating so the plan to stem their assault on the Clarens valley and in fact, the entire Eastern Free State, is now under review. One option is to export them (ideally in tins) back to Bangladesh, but catching the little buggers turns out to be a problem. We have experimented with cardboard cut-outs of particularly good-looking females, but these have simply been pinched by a broody dove, for purposes unknown. We have tried a long line of broken maize into a large pen, but gave up after 109 Guinea Fowls turned up (anyone wanting a pot of Guinea Fowl Swazi-Spa should drop us a line and fifty guineas). So, we are officially back at the drawing board, scratching our collective heads. Any suggestions would be welcomed and the authors thereof will receive a standing ovation at the next Dhilabeng Council Meeting. Now, as the actress said to the Bishop, for something entirely less demanding and quite coincidental: A recipe for Swan Soup! Take a swan. Any swan, actually. And peel it, or more correctly, denude it of its feathers. Assuming you are still alive after this taxing exercise, kill the sodding thing the kindest way you know how, but just do it. You will now have a very large pink thing with an over-extended neck and no pulse. Optimally, you should undo its tummy (Ed: that’s the part between its legs and below its rib cage) and empty out all the frogs and other low-life creatures it has ingested. As you will know, trying to roast a swan is delicate work; the inside bits are always raw and you can’t close the oven door on its neck. So, a tip: Firmly grasp the butt-end of the swan, insert a well-greased hand until you reach its beak, and turn it inside-out. The swan may have lost some of its visual charm by this point, but will be a lot easier to cook. Simply souse it with some sherry, a lot of pepper and grill it on High for 3 days. You will find, I am reasonably sure, that there is very little left of the beast and that your Eskom bill is into five-figures. At this juncture, give up the whole thing and go out for a pizza. The Twitcher 7 Feb 2013 205 shopping days to Christmas and a Craft Beer Festival to get through. God, the pressure!