Thursday, January 31, 2008

On bird flu striking Duck Towers

On bird flu striking Duck Towers

You may have noticed over recent weeks that the deadly H5N1 Avian Flu virus has struck at Abbotsbury just nine miles along the coast from us.

We are, in fact, living in a DEFRA control zone as steps are taken to ensure that the virus does not spread to other locations and kill us all to death.

Of course, the chances of H5N1 spreading from bird to human are incredibly slim, and as the recent fatal cases in the East have shown, you've got to live in a cardboard box with several dozen infected chickens for several weeks, rubbing infected chicken spit into your armpits until the virus even considers passing over.

Like that's a consolation to me.

Scary duck? Scaredy duck, more like.

In the words of Private Fraser: We're doomed! DOOMED!

The virus is winging its way to me, careering along the sewers to jump up the toilet and nip me on the scrotum when I least expect it.

In the bird world, you can get the disease just by shaking hands with a birdy vicar [note to self: Insert Parson's Nose gag HERE], and it can jump six feet off toilet seats. Bird flu seeks out birds - and ducks in particular - like an Exocet missile. I might as well go down to Abbotsbury wearing a T-shirt saying "Get It Here", if only to attract the attention of bored news crews.

I may not *cough* be long *cough* for this world *splutter*

Luckily, my charming lab assistant to whom I am married has come up with a health regime to ensure that this duck does not become yet another ministry statistic, scooped up and flung into an incinerator by some bloke who gets his kicks from dressing up in a large rubber protective suit. (I've known dozens of Ministry vets in my time. They're all at it.)

Vitamin C, she says. And loads of it.

In fact, she has knocked up a large tin bath in which she can whip up a thick, aromatic orange sauce from a book she has in her possession (written by that well-known vetinarian authority Nigella Lawson), where I can bathe for whole hours at a time, freshly plucked at gas mark 6.

She loves me. She really loves me.

And anyone would think she's trying to bump me off.

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