Friday, 8 June 2007

Bleaching Quails Eggs

Felix told me this morning that the quails were still nesting. I think this is code for something and so I nodded approvingly as we sat looking at the sea drinking our tea. Bessy likes quails eggs once they've been scrambled. I told Felix and he clearly took this to mean something terrible because he didn't talk to me after that. I left for a day in the surgery wondering if that was code for something too.

Still, when I told Mrs Winterbottom about the quails eggs she complained that every time she looks in the mirror her teeth remind her of them. She asked about having a dental face lift which made me think of one of those Salvador Dali paintings with sticks and rope supporting parts of a rather saggy-looking face.

I explained that having eggs for teeth would make the whole cosmetic process very fragile. I thought again of Felix's face when I had mentioned 'scrambled' on my way in and reassured Mrs Winterbottom that her ageing face was perfectly natural and dignified as it was. I suggested it was far more beautiful than mine even though she is twenty years older. She patted me on my knee and said there, there.

Talking of quails I noticed on my last trip to the Sahara the sun-bleached bones of a lost squirrel. I normally take to shooting the little creatures with bird seed in the garden, but seeing the little white bones lying in the sand I felt a pang of sadness and thought of bleached teeth.

Which brings me back to Mrs Winterbottom who tells me she's bought shares in a start-up cosmetic dental factory where people would walk in one end looking and feeling their age, but walk out only feeling it. I asked if the factory would operate in a protective environment, noting on her record card that she has an allergy to nuts. She looked at Cookie and tut-tutted. Cookie raised her eyes to the ceiling and rolled them round like ball bearings in a teacup, and said that people building factories knew how to secure nuts. Mrs Winterbottom seemed a little confused but didn't say anything.

George was texting his girlfriends at reception when I escaped the surgery. I asked him if he'd heard any news. He said that one of his textmates had told him there were some men getting together in Germany to make a gate. I said I didn't know anything about a gate - or any other access-restricting device - but that there were some very powerful men somewhere over there having a chat about the environment and other big things. Perhaps that was what Felix was talking about when he mentioned the nesting quails. But then why would he be so concerned by me suggesting the eggs be scrambled?

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