Poultry in France get a raw deal. Seen more as food and less as pets, finding an Avian vet isn’t easy. Foi gras, goose liver is still on the menu and guineas and ducks are slaughtered for gastronomic appetites. I can’t agree, I am absolutely not happy to see these poor birds have such short and empty lives. But this post is not about politics, that’s for another day.
My vet in Boussac is a nice guy. Speaking pigeon English and me my very poor French, somehow we get on well and although he is not a avian specialist, he does his best and supplies me with the medication I need and injections and has a sympathy that is enough to make me feel I can ask questions. Other vets have openly laughed when I enquired about a poorly chicken or a goose with a swollen foot. My vet has amputated Ronnie’s bad toe, helped radiograph Bonnie goose’s toe, and helped stitch up Clara, my cou-nous chicken’s nasty injury from a cockerel.
When I had to have my little guinea put down, he was very apologetic and gave me time to cry in his room and tissues to have a good nose blow. It’s the little things that help.
So I am designing him a mug for his daily coffee. What started as maybe a simple sketch grew and I felt I needed to push the design to be more engaging and colourful. Somehow poultry has its characters. The patient had to be a Goose. Who else would trip or swallow something that anyone else would simply step over or ignore. The consultant had to be a Turkey and the matron, a Frizzle with her puffed up feathers and stern look, seemed right.
But who would perform the operation? It had to be the ducks. They would obviously get it done promptly, as any delay in getting to eat peas, would be unthinkable! There is a hen, a runner duck, a guinea and cockerels in here too.
My rough sketch is below. Next it must be transfered to cartridge paper, some water colour washes used as a base shade and for shaddows and light direction and the rest I will work up with coloured pencils and wax pencils. I never thought I would do illustrating like this, but it’s fun and I am hoping this will also be a blue print for some of my book illustrations.
Hopefully Goose recovered and the ducks had extra peas to celebrate. Myself I am also in hospital having head and back scans. A perfect time to make sure I haven’t forgotten any details and ensure that seringe does look as scary as it does!