Keats was justifiably proud of
his salad dressing; its liquid caress could invigorate the most
flaccid of radacchios. Over the years he had become obsessive about
perfecting its recipe and went to extraordinary lengths to procure
the requisite mustard, vinegar and olive oil, some of which he would
salt away so as to never run out. If any of these ingredients were
not immediately at hand, as was often the case due to the shambolic
state of his kitchen, he became filled with despair.
Chapman witnessed one such
culinary crisis when he looked in from the dining room to see how his
friend's much anticipated vinaigrette was progressing. He saw
assembled amid the chaos a salt cellar and pepper pot, a jar of
moutade de Dijon and
bottle of vinaigre balsamique...
but where was the oil so crucial to the mix?
searching high and low all the while bemoaning his lack of
organisational skills and resultant failure to locate the missing
component. Finally, having ransacked in vain every cupboard and
shelf, he collapsed into a chair and wailed, “I can not go on like
“Sounds like you've lost the
huile d'olive”, suggested Chapman, unhelpfully.
Chapman entered the room bearing a cage
in which perched a parrot. He knew his entrance would cause something
of a stir as his friend Keats was fascinated by all things
Keats leapt from his chair and
scrutinised the bird.
“I imagine you can identify the
species” said Chapman.
“Judging by its cinereous plumage I
would say it's an example of Psittacus erithacus”
“Is it really?”
muttered Chapman, previously unaware of its Linnaean name, “and
from where exactly does it hail?”
began Keats, “it used to be distributed throughout the Congo and
adjacent countries, but so many have been trapped for the pet trade that there are few left in the wild and their range is difficult to
“I see, so it's something of an
African Grey area...” proffered Chapman, unhelpfully.