Thursday, 25 April 2019

Modern Manners

Planning to make a stock, I ask for chicken carcasses at the butcher’s counter in a Bristol supermarket. “We aren’t allowed to sell bones”, they tell me, “you’ll need a butcher’s shop for that.”

I could ask who made this new mad rule and why it was agreed to, but instead I ask if there is a butcher’s shop nearby. They don’t know, and so I plunge out of the place, so fed up with this new pointless complication that I don’t notice that I’m leaving by a different doorway from the one by which I entered.

I find myself on a street full of marvellous sandstone buildings and wonder, as I always do when I see streets like this in Bristol, (and there are plenty): how to reconcile the loveliness of much of Bristol’s architecture with the fact that much of it was probably paid for out of money made through the ownership of slaves. And from there, as usual, my mind passes to the question of how people could even for a moment think it was okay to “own” other human beings - couldn’t they still have made money by offering people work in another country, paying them reasonably there and not behaving monstrously? Profits still could have been made, surely, but not at the awful expense of others?

Impossible questions - and no sign of a butcher’s shop. So I approach a young woman who is placing a folding chalkboard on the pavement.

“Sorry to bother you” I say, “but could you tell me if there’s a butcher’s shop nearby?”

Her expression changes from wary friendliness to what appears to be a mixture of shock and anger. I am taken aback when she turns and walks off, leaving me alone with her billboard.

Which reads, I now notice, “Vegan food, this way”.


  1. Once again you have made my day with your laugh out loud last line! Many thanks!

  2. So you are still blogging? How did I lose you? I wish I could subscribe to your blog by email because I did always enjoy reading your posts - and this one reminded me why!

    1. Hello, In answer to your first question, I have been meaning to blog more than I have been blogging. The haphazardness of the posts has reflected, and perhaps still does, my life, which has been very broken up for the last three or four years, due to a number of things. I still enjoy blogging when I do get the chance though and my intentions are far greater than the number of my posts might suggest. Re email, I wish I knew how to make the blog subscribable by email for you. I would happily make it so, if you were able to tell me how.