They continued to decline; nobody gives a damn about serious whiny articles.
Today, my friend Jemima "Mima" Parry Jones, daughter of the grand old falconer Philip Glasier, sent me this YouTube piece of pro- vulture propaganda, and I am envious- it will likely be a lot more effective.
Mima is unusual- I am reminded of the remark, which sounds like one of Osxar Wilde's epigrams, that in friendship , it is best to begin with a little aversion...
We were staying at Jonathan Kingdon's near Oxford when he decided we MUST se Mima's original Bird of Prey Center on the west coast of England (on a day trip- I will never get over the scale of England). I was a little dubious - I had heard she did not approve of some things I had written-- but the chance to see all those birds was irresistible.
We had fun exploring the park- it is where I first encountered the African Crowned eagle I mentioned below. We also played with an Andean Condor who seemed fascinated with Jonathan's car keys.
She interrupted him : I KNOW what he fucking wrote. He's the cunt who write 'The English have nothing to teach us but history!' "
I don't think she ever uttered a critical word in my direction again, but I am not sure Jonathan ever got over his shock..
As for Mima, perhaps the last word should go to Merliner Emeritus, naturalist, poet, and former schoolmaster John Loft. In his local pub, over good peaty Scotch whisky and steak and kidney pie, on a foggy unseasonably cold May night, I told him this story. He shook his head and said: "Stephen, if you think SHE has a mouth that could take your hide off, you should have known her father."
|Mima, the Duke, and her father many years ago|
|John Loftt with falcon topiary in his garden; hawking with Tim Galllagher.|