Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Museum Of Curiosity




Showered, scrubbed, sat, fully dressed, in bed because the house is cold and from here I have a pleasing vista of leafy trees and sheep dots on field squares. Moorland squats under mist. The window has rain freckles. I hear a car rumble on the lane. Mr returns from his town errands, and he has bought a picnic basket in a charity shop.
‘Another bit of clutter,’ he apologises.
I look up at my family heirloom stuffed Red Squirrel, and decide I’d better not worry about it. Picnics are fun, even an indoor picnic on a day that rains. It is difficult to pack food in a basket without being mindful of the intention to share and enjoy.
I don’t know why I like Squirrel so much though. Probably because he is so odd, he provokes a quizzical mindset, even when I am used to him being there. And he reminds me of this:
Once upon a time there was such a place as ‘Mr Potter’s Museum of Curiosities,’ a collection of objects including locally retrieved mummified cats, seventeen kittens drowned and stuffed to represent a Spring country wedding, a Victorian cucumber straightener and an umbrella stand made out of a hollowed elephants foot. Compelling, disgusting, mind-bending stuff: one of my favourite places to visit, because it was so disturbingly weird. The grand finale was to wait in the gift shop space, watching the cctv screen, observing the mixed expressions and reactions of other visitors. Mr Potter’s collection has since been sold, as divided lots. Nothing I have discovered since has caused so much laughter and so much sickened revulsion in one afternoon. 

Red Squirrel, aka George. Probably about 70 years old.

5 comments:

  1. When you said you were packing a picnic basket then, in the next sentence you said you like squirrel, I thought you were going to eat squirrel for lunch! I wonder what it tastes like :-)
    Di
    X

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  2. 'The window has rain freckles.'

    You excel at these.

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  3. My childhood bf had a lot of real stuffed animals in her attic which used to scare the crap out of me as a kid. We were playing hide and seek once and accidentally broke a tail on one.

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  4. Thank you lovelies :-)
    Apparently red squirrel tastes awful but the prolific grey is delicious, and quite popular.
    An attic full of stuffed animals... that's some good childhood drama!

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  5. I am so with you on the reasons for loving Squirrel.

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