[lit-ideas] Re: A Duck Called Nigel

  • From: david ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 18:26:08 -0800

News from the city that is home to a magazine that gives beauty advice to Goths:

http://www.oregonlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/living/ 1131758709121350.xml?oregonian?lvls&coll=7

Can "Health and Efficiency for the Hun" be far behind?

My father-in-law arrived for the weekend. Browsing the web, he found a cheap flight and decided to drop in. On Friday this didn't matter one way or another. He came to the St. Andrew's Society dinner and saw me elected to the board--no thrill there--and then the girls danced, putting on a very fine display. The piper's party piece was jaw-dropping, astonishing finger work.

First thing on Saturday we rose and piled into two cars--a SAAB and a Buick (yes, they're still fixing the clutch)--and headed for the coast, where my wife had scored us a beach house for the night. She had given a talk and this was to be the honorarium. I had high hopes, Manzanita having a reputation in the art community as a charming place. Why two cars? We took the dog...and grandpa.

And how was the house? Once I'd fixed the broken toilet, everything was reasonably comfortable, but short of heaven. Pouring rain didn't help. I thought I could enjoy the beach with Mac in spite of the downpour, but twenty minutes of being cold and wet convinced me that I was mistaken.

Perhaps the best part of the trip was going into a store and finding that it was owned by two young people from London who had decided to try a different life. They had discovered, alas, that selling stuff in a store in a small town on the Oregon coast is no way to make a living. But they had enjoyed the year and found other people to sell the store to, so she was going back to teaching and he...to being Mr. Plod, a British policeman. He had some awful tales to tell of crime in Britain. Not good. I hope in this instance the French are not the avant garde.

We bought some African salad spoons and a wooden duck, called Nigel. It says it on him, "My name's Nigel." Laura doesn't see what's funny about a duck called Nigel, but Emily, Julia and I just have to say, "Nigel" in a London accent and we laugh. It's not actually a duck; it's a "dcuk." That's its trademark, playing off "fcuk," French Connection U.K., a clothing brand.

Julia just suggested we could test the duck punt gun on Nigel. I'll be a piper with a party piece before that happens.

David Ritchie
Portland, Oregon

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