Rural dwellers in France are feeling threatened by city slickers moving into the countryside. 

Indeed, a series of court cases lately have pitted the traditional way of life in rural France against modern values which, country-dwellers say, are creeping in from the city.

It all started with Maurice. 

Maurice was a loud, strutting rooster who was so cocky that he was the pride and joy of his owner Monsieur Louis Gaspard who extolled its virtues to all and sundry. 

But Monsieur Sundry did not like the cacophonous cock. He had newly moved in from Paris, a civilised place where roosters did not frighten the daylights out of neighbours at daybreak. 

A civilised city such as Paris would know what to do with the raucous rooster, thought the much maligned neighbour vengefully. Render it into a mouth-watering marsala perhaps?

Some hot fowl curry on a cold winter’s day is always nice, thought Monsieur Sundry wistfully. This shocked the prudish Monsieur Gaspard: he knew that fowl was a four letter bird. 

And that was how it ended up in court. 

According to Reuters, the case was heard in Soustons, 700 km south-west of Paris, which just showed how far Monsieur Sundry had fled to obtain some peace and quiet. 

His lawyer said the piercing noise emitted by the cacophonous cockerel each morning exceeded the permissible levels permitted any rooster holding French citizenship. The ensuing bedlam, argued the lawyer, prevented the Sundrys from sleeping with their house-windows open. 

In short, he wanted damages for his anguish and suffering.

The judge thought the barrister was talking cock and he said so. He ruled that the consequential cockerel was free to do what it did best which was to cock-a-doodle-do until the cows came home or the buffalo roamed.  

He was not known as Monsieur Cliche for nothing. 

Meanwhile, the legal cases have spread. Case in point: the ducks and geese on a small French smallholding may carry on quacking, a French court ruled on Tuesday, rejecting a neighbour’s complaint that the birds’ racket was making their life a misery.

About 60 ducks and geese had been kept by retired farmer Dominique Douthe in the foothills of the Pyrenees and the daily commotion they made had driven the neighbour, newly moved from Paris, to distraction, not to mention drink.

Madame Douthe felt compelled to defend her flock lest her goose be cooked. Her lawyer rose to heights of eloquence in court arguing that her newly moved-in neighbour was on a wild-goose-chase and Madame Douthe’s flock was no less than nature’s bounty.

Even their occasional trips to town were a treat, he argued. It  was sheer “poultry in motion.”  

The disgruntled neighbour is planning to appeal on the grounds that the judge was biased. 

The judge was well known in his rural neighbourhood for his unrelenting dandruff. During the trial, he was only seen to perk up when a witness for the defendant – an expert on shampoo – testified. 

The expert testified that his company only obtained its dandruff-resistant shampoo after a study on the dietary habits of geese. It showed that the addition of gluten to the final formula worked wonders on the scalp.Bread was good for the birds and so, what’s good for the goose was good for the dander.

The Answer To Life’s Problems Isn’t Vindaloo

It wasn’t a plane and, no, it wasn’t a man with funny underwear over his tights.

But it was a funny-looking bird that looked orange and sick as it lay by the highway in Buckinghamshire in England early last week.

According to CNN, it baffled staff at a UK animal rescue centre until they realised it was just a seagull covered in curry.

“It’s a seagull covered in curry,” declared the chief vet after a judicious sniff at said gull. “How perfectly foul.”

The prudish staff at the Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital were shocked: they knew that fowl was a four-letter bird.

Actually, the bird – named Vinny after vindaloo – was an insecure gull which longed to be an eagle. As gulls went, it was big and was easily big enough to be a D-Gull but not quite big enough to be an eagle.

That depressed the less-than-big bird as it contemplated the bleak and existential question that has tormented glum gulls for millennia: how could it soar like an eagle when it was surrounded by turkeys?

As it flew disconsolately over the cerulean-blue waters of the Buckinghamshire Bay, its answer came in a flash.

The answer was vindaloo.

The near-magical powers of vindaloo have been voluminously documented and chiefly revolves around its prodigious propensity to cure constipation.

History buffs will be interested to know that it was invented around the 13th Century by one Aravinda Pillai who was born in the village of Trissur in Kerala, India.

Even as a child, Aravinda was fascinated by flavours and all things spicy. At a precocious nine, he managed, one morning, to cook pancakes for breakfast. Aravinda was thrilled but his siblings were deeply upset.

Pancakes had been their favourite rabbit.

As he grew older, however, his fame as a cook rose until he was appointed as chef in the palace in Kerala’s royal capital of Trivandrum. And, one fateful day, the King himself confessed to being bored with the pedestrian fare being served up and beseeched Aravinda to come up with something original.

He was still thinking about it when his eye fell casually on some apple cider vinegar – used for washing hair – in his bathroom.

It takes true genius to recognise serendipity when it looks you in the eye but Aravinda was equal to the task.

He instinctively knew that if he simmered lamb stock and vinegar, sugar, salt and seasonal spices with choice cuts of lamb for just long enough, he would end up with a succulent, falling-off-the-bone lamb dish fit for a King.

The monarch agreed and named the dish after his Chef in a Bathroom. In short, His Majesty decreed that it should forever be called Vindaloo.

Vinny, the sad seagull, knew all about the restorative powers of the delectable dish created by Aravinda all those years ago. It also knew that when cooked perfectly, vindaloo is golden.

Which is why it seagull-dived into an industrial-sized vat of vindaloo outside the biggest curry-house in Buckinghamshire.

The bird was lucky in that the dish had been cooling for some time so it escaped being cooked.

Animal lovers will be delighted to know that Vinny has made a complete recovery.

But his vets have advised that trying to be a golden eagle may be prejudicial to its health.

Old Birds Don’t Die, They Just Stow Away

A recent stowaway in business class on a Singapore Airlines flight to London avoided detection for 12 hours before the cabin crew cottoned on to her presence. 

It wasn’t the twister and it wasn’t a plane. It was, however, a bird. 

Dinah was a Singaporean mynah, which longed to transcend its humble origins and trip the light fantastic. In short, Dinah the mynah wanted something finer.  

There were too many of her kind back in Singapore and she wished to be rid of her constantly squabbling flock. And so she resolved to travel to London where she had polite relatives called starlings and where she’d heard a nightingale always sang in Berkeley Square. 

Like most Singaporeans, Dinah could muster a modicum of Singlish, which she had been told would stand her in good stead in the United Kingdom. 

Finally, the avian adventurer wanted to see London because it was a monarchist at heart and hoped it might meet the Queen. Lest we forget, she was also tired of Majulah Singapura and yearned for the return of colonialism and God Save the Queen. 

As she was still a citizen of the city-state, however, she decided that the way to London would have to be by way of Singapore Airlines where she had heard good things about its business class services. 

The ease by which the feathered fugitive stealthily sailed over the republic’s Immigration controls while simultaneously resisting the urge to make a sizeable deposit on the burnished berets of the stolid Singaporeans has now become the stuff of legend and could become a movie starring Meryl Cheep and Jay Leno. 

The militant mynah even had the gumption to dawdle in SIA’s business lounge where she sampled some indifferent cheese that she decided she wouldn’t write home about before she made her historic tryst with destiny. 

But for such a noisy, oftentimes aggressive, bird to have avoided detection for almost the whole flight – it takes 14 hours to Heathrow from Changi – was nothing short of a miracle. You see, Dinah may have been crazy but she wasn’t stupid and knew full well

that a bird in the hand was usually dead.  

And it would have got away with it too. Except that nature took over. You see, there is an unseen force that lets birds know just when you’ve washed your car… or your hair.

Realising that there were only two hours till London, passenger M decided to wash her hair. Alas, the merciless mynah noticed and the jig was up.

In a statement on Sunday (Jan 13), an SIA spokesman confirmed that a bird was found on flight SQ322 on January 7. 

“It was subsequently caught by cabin crew with the assistance of some of the passengers on board,” said the spokesman.

Alas, poor Dinah. She had been handed over to British quarantine officials fearful of bird flu. You couldn’t blame them either: she was a bird and she had just flown.

Singapore has publicly repudiated the mutinous mynah for disavowing its national anthem but SIA is said to be considering her as a flyting advertisement for its business class services along the lines of “well, if you had to stow away…”

Press reports have since indicated that Dinah has taken up with a British starling with a drink problem. 

You see where this is heading don’t you?

I mean, that’s like, getting two birds stoned at once.