Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dachshunds, donkeys and why it's OK to pick your nose

Sooner or later, if you go to enough pub or charity quiz nights, the question is bound to arise: What is the derivation of the word “dachshund”?

Well, any quiz question is easy enough – as long as you know the answer. If you’re stuck on this one, though, dachshund means “badger hound”, from the German words “Dachs”, meaning badger, and “Hund”, meaning... well, you can probably guess that bit.

Fully-functioning dachshund sorts out a badger. In German
A previously crippled dachshund called Jasper leaped into the  headlines this week after undergoing a remarkable new medical procedure in which cells from his nasal cavity were injected into his spinal cord.

Although “leaped” is probably too strong a word, because Jasper actually trotted into the headlines.

On a treadmill, on which he was videoed, showing off his reacquired mobility for the delight of  TV and internet viewers across the world.

The power of the imagination whisks us to a Gothic laboratory at Cambridge University, where an experiment is getting under way.

“So, Igor,” says Doktor Victor Frankenstein. “Haben sie die olfactory ensheathing cells aus der nozen von dem kleinen Dachsenhunden extracten?”

“Ja, mein Doktor,” gurgles Igor.

“Gut,” says the Doktor. “Also preparen wir den allgemeinen Spinaltapsinjection...”

There’d be something rather ghoulish about all this re-animation if it wasn’t so heart-warming.

Because Jasper is clearly a happy little chap, and very pleased to be back on his feet again.

And parents  everywhere will  have to stop telling off  their children for picking their noses.

Because it IS good for you after all.

Speaking of heartwarming, and kids, and as exclusively revealed on the front of last week’s The Bath Chronicle, it’s Christmas. Yes, really.

And Christmas (pursuing the  tenuous animal connection) means donkeys in Mrs D’s nativity play, and donkeys  mean buying coconuts to make clippety-cloppety noises.

So it’s off to Waitrose, Mrs D’s shopping list in hand. Here it quickly becomes apparent  that self-checkouts and coconuts don’t mix. They won’t scan, and no amount of option-button pushing has any effect.

One assistant says he can put them through at £1 each, which seems a bit pricey. But another, who’s clearly dealt with this sort of situation before, has a coconut barcode stuck into her notebook. The price comes down to 69p for each soon-to-be-pair of donkey hooves, which seems a lot more reasonable. Back at home, though, things get really difficult.

Hammer several holes through entry points at end of coconut. Turn coconut upside down over bowl. Tiny squidge of coconut milk. Shake coconut. Huge spurt of coconut milk all over kitchen floor. Leave nut to drain, find mop. Wonder how Robinson Crusoe contrived to hold out for 28 years on a desert island.

Trawl garage for implement to grip husk tightly enough to saw it but not crush it. Extract flesh from severed halves with dangerous knife. Rinse and repeat. And relax.

So that’s Christmas sorted. Never mind present-buying, card-sending, tree-putting-up, carol-singing: as long as the sound effects are organised, everything else is bound to come right in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment