Friday 3 June 2011

The Savage Cabbage

The soothsayers - ever the champions of balanced perspective, integrity and bull ordure - are having a wonderful time at the moment. Not only are they going bananas over the Radico Baditch and Seth Bladder football stories - there's yet another scare story for them to mangle, exaggerate and embroider to the point of absurdity. Of course, we can expect nothing more or less from Aunty Beeby See, her pustule-pocked friend Guardy-Ann and the ranting Delly-Mell. Were the entire population of the Kingdom of Northumbria to take their news both literally and seriously, the prevailing mood would be one of pessimism, despondency and abject fear. Were that ever to be the prevailing psychological landscape, the majority of the population would be obliged to either drown their sorrows in the ale and mead houses, chew the sacred mushrooms or take refuge in the fantasy world of football... hopefully, it'll never come to that: I'm saying my prayers.

Anyway. The latest piece of hot gossip to drip from the greasy jowls of Beeby See and her merry companions pertains to brassicas: those plants in the crucifer family of flora which include cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, curly cale and so on. These are the vegetable supplements to the human diet which Do You Good - hence the ubiquitous and often protracted dinner-table battles with obdurate infants, who detest them.

There's a special breed of super brassica imported to these shores from the mainland of the nearby continent of Europe. They are called E-Cauli (the E is for Euro); they originate from the Kingdom of Westphalia (part of the Holy Roman Empire - which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire) and they've allegedly resulted in a considerable number of deaths in Westphalia.

When these deaths were first reported, the Westphalians protested, and pointed the finger at the Iberian cucumber growers, who have a distasteful habit of wiping their noses on the back of their hands whilst picking their crops. Consequently, there has been a Slaughter Of Innocents, where Herod (or rather, the equally psychotic King Jose Borracho) has ordered the slaughter of all Iberian cucumbers younger than three years. There has been the sound of wailing in the land.

But the deaths continued apace when the cull had long ceased, so after a bashful apology in the tone of "Oops!" to the Iberians, the Westphalians have looked to their own back yards - and concluded that the origin of the problem is the very greens in which they invest so much pride.

So there's an outpouring of hand-wringing and soul-searching over here by the soothsayers, since many of the accursed vegetables have already been imported, distributed throughout the Northumbrian shambles and have already - in a cooked state - graced the colons of Anglo-Saxon yeomen and their wives. Gloom, death and desolation. Whatever. The children should be okay though, since they tend to spit the offending vegetables out into a convenient receptacle when their parents aren't looking...

So what's this really all about? Apart from a jolly tale to occupy the Job's comforters and to provide them the means to entertain the masses, it's difficult to discern the true cause of all this. Unless it's the Westphalian farmers themselves. Has anyone taken the trouble to find out about their toilet habits whilst picking these crops... I wonder...

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