DANGEROUS RABBITS AND HOW TO OUTWIT THEM

Occasionally my writing turns into a dangerous rabbit a bit like this one …

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When this happens running and hiding seems the only sensible thing to do …

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But there is only so long one can hide in a tree with those damnable, smiling rabbits waiting at the bottom. Eventually, of course, I come to realize how silly my fears are and come down …

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And that’s when they strike …

The illustrations come from The Romance of Alexander, by the Flemish illuminator Jehan de Grise, 1338-1344 and are from The Bodleian Library in Oxford. It’s interesting to speculate about Jehan de Grise. Did he go out for lunch, down a few too many ales and then pick up quill and ink and think to himself. ‘What am I going to do with this lower margin? Oh, I know, The Revenge of the Rabbits. Apparently this kind of thing is known as a monde renversé.

A postcard of it fell out of a book I was pricing in the second hand bookshop I work in. On it was written:

Here I am at 6 a.m. hurtling out of Oxford towards the Belfast festival and skimming too hastily through the things I had meant to do at leisure, and in pleasure. Before Christmas I shall let you know better how good and true I found your book. Love, Seamus

What a lovely postcard to receive especially when it came from Seamus Heaney.

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As for me, if you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because those damn rabbits have got the upper hand.

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9 thoughts on “DANGEROUS RABBITS AND HOW TO OUTWIT THEM

  1. That’s a special kind of postcard to fall out of a book- both the rabbit side and the Seamus side! Coincidentally I read Heaney’s Aeneid VI recently and loved it so much I signed up yesterday for a City Lit course about Heaney in November. But somehow I don’t think anything I learn there will top the rabbit postcard!

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    • Hi Colin and thanks for the comment. I haven’t read his version of Aeneid 6 but I did it for Latin A’Level and loved it. Also I have a great fondness for the City Lit. I did the my first writing course there with a teacher called Alison Fell – she was great – and also a blogging course. I think their courses are excellent and I hope you enjoy yours.

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    • Hi Mel – you know I did. I didn’t realize at first it was Famous Seamus and just kept it because it made me laugh but then when I read it I thought it must be him. The usual things that fall out of second hand books are tickets. Boarding passes in particular. I once had a 1963 London bus ticket then there was an old £5 and uncashed premium bonds. Sometimes, sadly, photos that you feel should not be in a book being looked at by me but with their family.

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    • Hi Francesca – Never trust a rabbit? I’m not really sure I think I’ll have to leave that to others to decide! I’m a fan of Groovy Historian on twitter and they post quite a lot of these kinds of pictures and they always make me laugh. It’s a sort of world turned upside down which appeals!

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  2. What a fantastic find, both card and illustrator. Rather Terry Gilliam, really – thinking of the killer hedgehog. Now really, you mustn’t allow the rabbits to get the upper hand. There are times when you simply need to put up a rabbit-proof fence otherwise the damn things will multiply and you’ll have a thousand half-finished projects before you know it.

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    • You’re right – the rabbit proof fence might be the answer but will it stop the arrows? What I love about these rabbits are their size – they have gigantic feet – their confidence, and also their sense of humour. They are definitely smiling.

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