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Gold Crested Wren

Despite being sloitishly behind schedule, Roly insists on stopping to paint some gold crested wrens, Juan, examining the picture, says the birds are useless. I tell him that he's stupid, anyone with any sense can see that Roly has done a fantastic job, wrens are so small you can hardly see the things, never mind paint them, not only that, but Roly has managed to paint them while they're flying, most artists who paint birds, like George Rankin, only paint them when they're standing around doing nothing, and any fool can do that, but Roly can capture them in the air, which is fantastic. Juan says that Roly's painting is passable but he meant that the wren is useless, useless for cooking anyway, they're difficult to catch, and they're so small you need hundreds of them to make a decent fricassée, especially if you take their feathers off. I know what Juan means but I point out that, apart from anything else, the wren is the national bird of Luxembourg and, strictly speaking, you shouldn't eat a national bird, it's disrespectful. Juan says that Luxembourg doesn't count, it's not even a country, it's a duchy, I remind him that Luxembourg isn't a duchy, it's a grand duchy, which is like a duchy, but grander and, although it might be small and insignificant, unlike bigger places like Australia and Canada, at least it has it's own language. Juan retorts that Luxembourgish isn't a real language; it's the noise extremely inebriated French people make when they try to speak German.

Roly tells us that we are both idiots, and he tells us that the gold crested wren isn't a real wren, it's a kind of warbler and come from the family Regulus regulus, and that the real wren is a Troglodytes troglodytes, Juan says he got it the first time, and Roly doesn't have to say everything twice. I try to explain to Juan how the nomenclature of taxonomy works, using rattus rattus as an example, but Juan tells me to shut up, the subject is too stupid to even think about, Roly says taxonomy isn't stupid, it's very important, but I tell Roly that Juan is a regular troglodyte and can't be expected to understand such things, Juan shouts that he doesn't want to understand it and, instead, breaks open barrels of Vintage Scapa, Macduff, Pulteney, and Balblair Special Reserve and, after drinking toast after toast to little birds, we link arms and, warbling Lá an Dreoilín at the top of our voices, we dance around in circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink's Diary