Parrot in carrot

by Dan

The notorious pirate Bradleigh Salterton, Captain of The Seahorse, was vain.

He liked doublets almost as much as he liked Doubloons and he spent a considerable portion of these on accessories. Every morning he washed his beard in nutmeg infused milk whilst the ships boy laid out his laundered pirate clothes- Stripy socks, felt boots, bellbottoms, Captain’s Underpants, scarlet shirt, jacket with gold frogging and Tricorn hat. A menacing yet stylish cutlass and gold earrings completed his look.

His most prized item though was a vermillion, aquamarine and canary plumed parrot he had bought in a Tapas bar on the Spanish Main. it adorned his left shoulder attracting envious glances from deadly rivals BlueBeard, BlackBeard and Female pirate Fakebeard.

There was only one problem with this extraordinary bird. Its previous owner had been an insufferable foodie, this meant it wittered incessantly about pancetta and attracted unflattering nicknames from other parrots including “Bore of the Bahamas” and “Snob of the Spice Isles”.

The bird itself it would sulk extravagantly unless it was addressed as “Charles Campion- Restaurant Critic of the Daily Telegraph”.

Where other parrots shouted “Pieces of Eight”, Charles Campion Restaurant Critic of The Daily Telegraph would hop around on his perch shrieking “Oxcheek and bonemarrow!” or, on occasion, “pan-fried ballotine of lamb with shallots in a Red Wine Reduction!”

One day, a Spanish Galleon laden with gold, silver and lusty maidens was sighted off the starboard bow. Cap’n Salterton ordered the ship to hot pursuit,…. but the crew had downed tools.

“We’re starving! Can we get a bite to eat on the way?” they asked.

Just then Cap’n Salterton saw a Sail-Thru Sinbad’s upon the Horizon, “2000013 pirates proudly served”. “Stroke of luck” he declared! We’ll hardly lose any time!”- the crew cheered.

He’d reckoned without the parrot.

“A delightful Michelin-Starred restaurant run by Angela Hartnett has opened just round the headland.” it cried, “I wouldn’t send my valet to eat in Sinbad’s”.

Scared of upsetting his parrot, Salterton announced, to loud groans, that perhaps it would do them good to go somewhere that served something better than ships biscuits and grog.

With The Spanish Galleon still in view, they arrived at a minamalist restaurant adorned with works by Damian Hirst to hear the snooty waiter say there were no tables for filthy-looking pirates. The ship hit the high seas again to find the galleon gone.

A deputation from his mutinous crew issued an ultimatum, either the cap’n provided them with food immediately and got rid of the parrot, or he’d be forced to walk the plank and have his clothes sent to the charity shops of Hispaniola.

That evening, as the crew feasted upon the corpulent stomach of Charles Campion- Restaurant Critic of the Daily Telegraph, Cap’n Salterton mused that at least the wretched bird retained some dignity. After all, being served with a medley of root vegetables, on a crumble of ships biscuits, in a grog foam, wasn’t such a bad way to go.