Imagine a collection of densely pack streets, full of warm, friendly people, neon signs, gay sights and enticing smells and you have started to get a small inkling of what it means to find yourself In Soho.

In my present state I can’t really explain the excitement of  treading those semi-cobbled pathways. But I do want to describe the strange conversation and reaction I had to this image:

Yeah.. It’s a stuffed Ostrich. Or is it?

So there we were, me and Pete, in Leceister Square with 2 hours to kill for the next viewing of Skyfall at the big Odeon. What to do? the ‘Queerly Night Out’ at Escape in Soho would undoubtedly suck our last pennies from us, but a quiet bevvy wouldn’t hurt.. Off we trotted around Soho to find a kitch (and cheap) place for a quiet cheeky drunk or two.

Up and down disorientated by the colourful flags, banners and neon signs, not to mention the saucy window-fronts to the sex shops. Until imagine my double-take at that one particular window on Batemen Street. Two men were exchanging tired words as one walked back into the well-lit bare shop, bare save the large stiff ostrich centrally taking up all space in the room.

As I asked the man now slowly savouring a cigratte for permission to take a photograph, Pete in his surprised and most inquisitive air asks the obvious “what is a large stuffed ostrich doing here?”.

Only for both of us to be told it’s not stuffed but embalmed. And worth more than our wallets and bank accounts combined. Not gastronomic amounts but about the price of a great car.

The Ostrich was owned by an 18th century Italian family who upon discovering the creature in Australia. Then with the newly known techniques of preservation  they commission the ostrich to be perfectly embalmed for the pleasure of their lives back in Italy. Not to mention a great gift to future genrations,  true sticking point when it came to writing their wills and testimonies I expects.. “Papa, why must Louis get the big bird, I was the best at cleaning it.. “. Silly little stories in my head, now off to bed I trot, Adieu.


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