Thought-provoking as ever, Maha. The word ‘cow’ as an insult has lost most of its impact these days. When I was growing up it was quite a strong insult, most often (as you say) towards a woman. “Lazy cow.” “Stupid cow.” It was on television comedies like “On the Buses” and it was fairly daring to use it. “Cow” as an insult towards a man is more problematic, in the sense that I only know of one small area of the UK where it was ever used (and continues to be used). As far as I know — and I’m happy to be proved wrong — the area was mainly East London. The phrase was “Gertchoo cow san”… or rather that’s how it would come out 🙂 Or “gertcha cowson”. It’s a bit like calling someone a son of a bitch (because the latter has never caught on over here… in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard “son of a bitch” over here). It’s basically “Get out of here, you unpleasant sausage”… just to keep this message polite. 🙂

When Chas & Dave recorded “Gertcha” in the 70s, it was actually quite provocative in some circles. (For the benefit of anyone reading this outside Europe, Chas & Dave are musical geniuses and I’ve seen them play live many times. They always play “Gertcha” — it was one of their biggest hits.)

I remember eating pigeons in Cairo. Delicious! We have pigeon pie here, and just pigeon on its own. It’s quite normal. Over recent years we’ve had food trends for things like kangaroo meat but that seems to have gone out of fashion. The strangest thing I ate in Cairo was testicles and cow brains (not together but on the same evening). It was the night before I was due to leave Cairo for the final time. The contract had ended. My flatmates and I decided that we could put it off no longer. We had to face eating the testicles and the brains. We actually had to go to two separate restaurants. The called it the Three Bs Night: Beer, Bollocks and Brains. (Sorry if this is offensive, but it’s true!)

Happy days.