London media executives who spend their weekends in Cornwall are lamenting the decline of the fishing industry, in the pretty villages they’ve all bought holiday homes in.
But now, thanks to advances in large hutch technology, they can maintain a permanent link to the past. A few simple Cornish are being kept as pets, in spare rooms or out the back by the bins.
“They’re easy to look after, they just need some old nets to play with”, said Cornish owner Cordelia Fotheringham. “You chuck them the occasional pastie and spray them with a brine mist. Before you know it, they’re shantying away.”
The floor around the cage is littered with crusts. “They don’t eat that bit, I don’t know why”, said Fotheringham. “Mine keeps shrieking ‘the tin! the tin!’ when I poke one back in. But it didn’t come in a tin: we don’t promote convenience food.”
Fotheringham has had a few problems. The constant muttering about coves, Spanish trawlers and EC fishing quotas would disturb her enjoyment of BBC 4. “But if you put a cloth over his cage when ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ is on, he’ll sit and sob relatively quietly.”
Owning a Cornish isn’t for everyone, and Fotheringham does worry about him when she’s away during the week. “To be honest, I’m getting a bit bored of him anyway. I might get a parrot next: at least they can talk properly. That, or a Welsh mynah bird.”