Impressing visitors

Jen and I went to the local Italian restaurant with her family last night to celebrate her mum's forthcoming birthday.

During the proceedings, one of Jen's brothers was telling us all about how he and his wife have show-towels in their bathrooms to impress visitors to the house. These towels aren't for actual use, he explained; they're just there for show.

The problem was, Jen's brother, like all her siblings, has a West Yorkshire accent. I have become pretty familiar with the accent over the years, but it still presents me with difficulties from time to time—as on this occasion. When Jen's brother said show-towels, I could have sworn blind that he actually said short owls. In the West Yorkshire dialect, the two phrases are homophones.

This simple misunderstanding got me thinking: wouldn't it be utterly awesome to keep a couple of owls in your bathroom, just to impress visitors? Well, I say just to impress visitors, but they would presumably keep any mice in check at the same time. Much better than a bloody cat at any rate. I'm thinking little owls or short-eared owls, obviously—nothing too fancy.

Thinking about it some more, having a pair of owls in your bathroom could help avoid potential embarrassment when you do have guests. If either of you needs to go to the loo, you could simply say, “I'm just off to feed the owls”—a really handy euphemism, I'm sure you'll agree.

Jen is always complaining that she never knows what to buy me for Christmas. Problem solved!

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. When Deckard goes to the Tyrrel Corp HQ, he sees an owl.

    In the book (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Rachel says it's real.

    In the film (Bladerunner), Rachel says it's artificial.

    I think that might be a case of a pair of show-owls.

  2. The owl in the film was very showy—as opposed to snowy—if memory serves. Some sort of eagle owl, I guess. There's futuristic Americans for you: no finesse.

    The strip-tease robot's snake was fake as well, I seem to remember.

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