David Fitzgerald: Is it a bird, is it a Pontiff...?
A FEW weeks ago I stood and stared at the news screens in amazement. As a good catholic, if that's not an oxymoron, I was amazed at the news of Pope Benedict resigning. I immediately grabbed my mobile phone and texted the enemy, the good lady wife.
'Pipe has resigned'
I love pre-emptive text. I then had to call to explain it was the Pope who had quit and nothing to do with horse trainers. She had already jumped to terrible conclusions about pies!
I remember writing about my trip to the Vatican City a couple of years ago. We had just wandered through the Sistine Chapel and had emerged into the massive St Peter's Square when she piped up.
'Where does the Pope live then?'
I pointed to the left hand side of the square, to a window, six along, one in from the end with what appeared to be a Man U beach towel on the windowsill… being German I suspected that slinging towels on everything is a cultural trait.
She squinted at the window and suddenly shouted… 'Is that him?'
Several nuns from Nigeria ran over to join in the confusion and, like me, were disappointed to discover she was pointing to a seagull on the guttering. I pointed out that he was not a foot and half tall and was unlikely to have climbed onto the roof.
'Perhaps he has had a bad day Pope'ing' she said and wandered off.
On reflection perhaps he had. But I admire anyone who, because of age and personal worry about doing a job properly, has made the decision to step down. I hope some MPs, judges, members of the House of Lords, Beatles guitarists and councillors might take note from the Pope and follow his example.
Speaking of pies, there is a genuine lobby group at the moment which is trying to get the term 'pie' used only when said 'pie' comes with a lid. If it doesn't have a full covering of pastry then it can't be called a pie.
I spoke to one of the people behind this and was told pork pies, steak and kidney pies and game pies were fine as long as there was a pastry top.
'So if it doesn't have a top, it's a tart!' I said.
He wouldn't be drawn on that.
So fill up on the best of English food while you can as the name may well change very soon. I hope you enjoy a bit of Shepherd's Tart or Cottage Tart and make sure it has a lid or you'll be tucking into Melton Mowbray pork tart.
I have been trying to find an email address for Don Mclean so he can get used to the new chorus of his 1971 smash hit. Bye Bye Miss American Tart… doesn't sit well with me.
PS. Pope Tarts! There's an idea.