The cry of a Cockney wolf: obviously.
Not that the Cockney accent should be singled out for h-dropping – it occurs in many other English dialects and is big in Serbian and was big in Late Latin as well. Oddly, romance languages recovered these dropped Hs after they inherited them (or their absence) from Late Latin, only to lose them a second time (which smacks of carelessness) – and they remain lost to this day. Perhaps all these lost Hs explain the great abundance of hydrogen in the modern universe – though I suppose quantum theory would tell a different story.
But no, I’m just teasing – this really is a post about an owl. Last night, as I cycled to a concert I had a close encounter with one: not in the 100 acre wood, but in a wood of barely a single acre a scant mile from home. I saw him (or her – it’s hard to sex an owl based on a relatively brief night-time sighting) crossing the cycle path just in front of me twice in very quick succession. I’m pretty sure it was a tawny owl – or, if a barn owl, he might want to lay off the voles for a while as he was really quite stocky. I was planning a wisecrack about liking my owls like I like my port – but then realised this was nonsense. I have nothing against a little owl, but a little port is an abomination.
This is only the second owl I’ve seen in the wild (so not really enough for a parliament yet) – and given that the first was in May, my owl service is improving (in a nod to the great Alan Garner). My wildlife encounters didn’t end there: on my return journey I passed a fox but, disappointingly, there was no sign of a werrity. Nonetheless, with my new wildlife spotting skills and recent broadcast experience, I eagerly await my call-up to Spring or Autumnwatch.
Between the wildlife, I went to see CUCO’s first concert of the new academic year. They were excellent as usual – though given the change of year, there had been some turnover in the personnel (some similarity with the start of the new Association Football season, though without the obscene transfer fees). The programme had everything: Vaughan Williams, Mozart and Stravinsky – some singing (rather beyond my current level), a double piano concerto and a symphony (all three pieces new to me). As a patron of the arts, I was even provided with a complimentary tub of ice cream.
What more could any chap want from a night out?