Wishing you all a very happy 2016, whether you’re in Ireland and dreading a year of hijacked ideological centennial history or not. Let’s not get into that right now – we have a whole year of it ahead of us. We should start the year with something nice like a tongue twister:

I’m not a pheasant plucker. I’m a pheasant plucker’s son, and I’m only plucking pheasants ’til the pheasant plucker’s done.

That should give you something of a clue as to what was on the menu for New Year’s dinner; roasted poached pheasant and a glass or two of wine. Sounds fancy, but this has become a tradition. Usually the fancy birds have been kept for the Feast of the Epiphany, but that particular meal has been suspended for this year. So the cooking of the proverbial goose has been brought forward a few days. Just to add to the risk of breaking teeth on lead shot from the meat a doorway had to be removed so as to get a table (that had to be dismantled and re-assembled) from one room to another.

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In the end only one small fragment of shot was recovered from the victim and no teeth were broken. We might call that a small success, even though I fumbled and dropped the trophy onto the carpet and never recovered it. These things keep me amused at dinner. The question of why I was having pheasant for New Year’s dinner, however, should be answered.

It is indeed a fancy bird, and one generally thought of as a decoration for the tables of our social betters. What has this furry socialist chowing down on the dishes of the well-to-do? Well for a start it is New Year and it calls for something special, and then because why should we ever think that any part of the bounty of the earth is the preserve of the rich? No, at this time of year – after they have had a whole year of thieving from my table – I like to pinch a little something nice from their estates. This flavour of thinking puts me in the mood for facing yet another fiscal year when they will be doing everything they can to rob me blind.


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