A missive arrives from Dr Ruth Pastry:
So then, Mr Key, I have just had the dubious pleasure of reading Old Key’s Almanacke in today’s Dabbler. I note that in your prognostications for the coming year you failed to mention birds. Knowing, as I do, that you are a man of exceeding ornithological perspicacity, this came as something of a surprise. You will protest that eggs get a mention, in October, but as I need hardly tell you, eggs are not birds. Some of them may become birds, in due time, but that is beside the point.
I myself would never presume to foretell the future without first making a very careful study of our wing-blessed friends. It is, I think, well known that accurate forecasts about the future doings of princes and potentates and popes depend upon acute “reading” of the various timbres of coos and caws and clucks and chirrups and shrieks of all sorts of birds, not excluding budgerigars and pratincoles. Similarly, by plucking and arranging in significant array the plumage of certain birds, including avocets and owls, one gains eldritch insight into the likely outcome of the coming year’s important sporting fixtures. Of course, you need to know which type of bird to pluck the feathers from, how to lay out the feathers upon a plain flat surface, and, crucially, how to interpret the pattern thus formed.
I do not claim, however, to be a haruspex, for the simple reason that it is against my moral code wilfully to slaughter a bird – any bird – that I might wrench out its entrails, hot and bloody, for the sole purpose of fortune telling. I leave that kind of thing to the Woohoohoodiwoo Woman.
Anyway, I wish you a happy new year, whatsoever may come to pass, and now I must dash, because the iFry I received as a Christmas gift is wittering imbecilically upon every subject under the sun, and I shall be driven insane unless I silence it by plunging it into a bucket of scum-coated rainwater. Toodle pip!
The rest of us have to wait until November for our iFry devices! Is Dr Truth-Spray’s word to be trusted in this important matter?