It was always likely that Sarah Louise Ephemery would be killed by some hungry inhabitant of the island. Being one of the few people who moved towards our non-human denizens rather than away from them has always put her at risk. I greatly admired her ability to reveal the true lives of things in rapidly taken images that, when put one after another, evidenced the motion. Objects that turned out to have legs. Trees that were not trees. Faces that were not imagined. We spent many happy hours comparing notes and photographs and I shall miss her greatly.
It is a sad irony then, that her death came about as a consequence of having eaten the wildlife, rather than being eaten by it. Sarah Louise Ephemery is the second victim of The Crow’s latest food incident.
Her brother, Jack Ephemery told me: “We try really hard, but when food is in short supply and something comes in you’ve never seen before, sometimes you just have to guess. Mostly we guess right. Sarah has been eating my dishes for years and I’ve not done her an injury before. Well, nothing she couldn’t get over within a week. I feel awful about this. I always do when someone dies after eating here, but, what can we do?”
It is a fair point. Who amongst us has never been hungry enough to take their chances cooking black eyed meese? Who hasn’t bought some troubling sea creature from a fisherman and wondered if it was a good idea? Who has not lost a loved one to a bad decision about what to put in the stew?
The official medical advice from Doc Willoughby is, ‘Steep everything in alcohol. Serve it with alcohol. It cleans the insides and keeps you safe and is why I am such a fine and healthy specimen of a man.’ My own method has been to boil everything, and then boil it again just to be on the safe side, and be ready with a large stick in case anything tries to get in the saucepan during the process.
There will be a wake for Sarah at The Crow tomorrow. Jack assures me there will be no experimental recipes whatsoever.
This week I finally captured an image of some creatures. I have not yet decided on names for them, or worked out if they are in fact related to any other creatures known to us. I had been studying tracks for some weeks before I was able to record an image. I am not sure if the beings to right and left of the image are related or not, but wanted to share the discovery.
It continues to amaze me how few people notice the non-human occupants of our island. Many people debated the existence of spoonwalkers with me, despite the overwhelming evidence of their activities. The week before last several people suggested that our peculiar visitor was not a creature at all. Although admittedly both of them dropped the issue after they saw it eat Boris’s dog.
I do still find myself wondering sometimes if I see things that other people do not. During the unfortunate camera business, it became apparent for a while at least, that no one else saw as I did. Based on observation, it is remarkable what ostensibly normal and ordinary persons can fail to perceive. For example, last Thursday at The Crow something climbed out of the cauldron and made a dash across the restaurant floor, escaping when the door was opened. I watched it go, with the peculiar impression that no one else in the premises had noticed. I encourage you all to be vigilant. Sometimes, there are devils in the details, or, as in this instance, the soup course.
Mrs Hester Ephemery says it is a mystery, and they’ve all disappeared in the last week. Knives and forks have not been taken.
Is there a spoon thief at work in Hopeless? Have they struck elsewhere? Let us know if your spoons have gone missing. Mrs Ephemery says it’s making the cooking difficult, but The Crow is still open for business.
It’s a tradition whose origins are lost, and a very fine piece of our local heritage. This Sunday’s Apple Procession begins at the Church at 10am after the Apple Blessing service. Following the green dancers in their foliage attire, and the drummers, the Procession will then make its way around the island’s farms. Hopefully this year’s drummers will have some sense of rhythm between them. (I shudder, recalling the horrors of trying to march to last year’s attempts).
We will be following the traditional route, but, after numerous requests, the wild apple tree at the end of Silver Street will be our first port of call. While each farmer will be providing buckets of blood for the traditional blessing, those attending are welcome to carry their own as well. As ever, bring gifts to hang in the trees – ribbons are good. Make sure whatever you bring is dead before you try and tie it to anything, or anyone. If the weather holds, it should be an excellent day out. The Crow will be supplying a range of apple themed dishes in the evening to round of the festivities.
If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it! That would be good advice for any new and untried food stuff. (I’ve had seventeen claims that The Crow’s Windfall Pie was poisonous). Mushrooms are coming into season. Some are very good to eat. The little white ones with black undersides are fine, but do not mistake them for the little white ones with a rather unwholesome green underside. Not only will these make you sick, but they are guaranteed to give you at least a week of wishing you were dead. Make sure your children are not tempted by the big shiny red ones – remember what happened last year with the hallucinated demon scare? And the year before when young Jaime Boff set fire to the town’s library because he was convinced it was going to eat him.
If in doubt, don’t! And that goes for novelty foodstuffs offered by The Crow, as well. Windfall Pie is now off the menu, I am pleased to tell you, replaced by ‘Roots in Pastry’ which sounds a good deal safer.
I no longer have boils. Thank you to everyone who expressed concern.
The Crow offers a whole new menu this week. Windfall Pie. Avian Stew. Deep fried Corvid with seaweed. Bring the newssheet with you for a half price cup of our best ersatz coffee (new secret ingredients!)