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Rabbits. Unlucky or not?

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Old 26th September 2023, 19:36
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Rabbits. Unlucky or not?

Portland Bunnies
A picture of rabbit pelts being dried and comments inspires this.
I thought to put this in the Forum rather then losing it in the Gallery.

Over the years the use of the word ‘Rabbits’ has acquired a superstitious connection.

It all started on Portland. On the island, historically the main occupations have been fishing and quarrying but it is quarrying Portland stone that is the origin.

Portland stone is a sedimentary limestone, the lower levels being particularly hard and white, known as Whitbed. Above that it becomes progressively more open in texture with visible fossils these are known as Roach beds. Obviously the Whitbed is more desirable and commands higher prices.
When quarrying, the first task is to remove the soil and top hamper – That is where the Rabbits live. Then one is supposed to work down through the roach until the best Whitbed is available. They are left with a quarry face where they can see the best stone, but it needs a lot of work removing the less commercial stone first.
So, what did they do? They undercut the stone to remove the best bits and let the roach fall, to be cut as required later. The problem with this was that the falling stone was dangerous and unpredictable. A sign that stone might be about to give was that the rabbits in the top soil felt the movement and ran out. They were more frightened of that than they were of men. The cry would go up: “Rabbits!” (although they probably said ‘Conies’ back then), the men would all pack up and go home until the danger of a fall was over. That is the part which was unlucky – They lost a days pay and any piece work for the stone.

It became that on Portland anyone should avoid using the word ‘rabbits’ - It was accepted as being ‘unlucky’.
As I said the other main occupation was fishing. The men working the fishing boats, being Portlanders, insisted that others should refrain from using the word. Seafaring has many superstitions and most other fishermen that the Portland men met would just take it on board without question. And thus it spread. Fishermen went to other boats and ships and passed it on.

On Portland one is still allowed to use the word Conie, (or coney), or little furry things or underground mutton etc. but never rabbits.
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Old 27th September 2023, 13:45
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Rabbits were presents that we bought abroad and took home to give to our families. Also a talkative person who had 'more rabbit than Sainsburys'!
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Old 28th September 2023, 04:05
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often called "Underground Mutton" by fishermen.
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Old 28th September 2023, 09:26
rustytrawler England rustytrawler is offline
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My mum used to call our next door neighbours rabbits, they had 11 kids.
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Old 29th September 2023, 23:14
Harry Nicholson United Kingdom Harry Nicholson is offline
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rabbit verse

During the last war my dad's rabbits kept meat on the table. I wrote this in honour of their sacrifice:


A Rabbit's Part in Hitler's Downfall

We did our bit as well, you know
– me and my kin, to save your skin.
When U-boats sank your hulls,
when fishes supped on sailors' skulls -
we kept you fed.

You basted us with lard – roasted spud
along our side, onion gravy, suet pud.
We kept you upright through the war,
in our hutches row on row,
Flemish Giants by the score.
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Old 30th September 2023, 06:45
Engine Serang Northern Ireland Engine Serang is offline
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Rabbit; braised, sautéed or flambéed on a bed of wilted greens with myxomatosis jus. Yummy or not?
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Old 30th September 2023, 07:54
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Certainly unlucky for those of us in Oz.
Rabbits have ruined half the country.
I was in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia years ago and saw an entire hillock 'flow like lava' before my eyes during a rabbit plague.
Myxomatosis and calicivirus are/have reduced rabbit numbers but they are still a curse, along with foxes, feral cats and deer.
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Old 30th September 2023, 08:28
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Harry’s little verse brought this one to mind;
Run rabbit run!
https://youtu.be/K1SX8r5y1qw?si=n4nT3pcsbwPN3uGv
Back in the 60s I was at an event on Portland where at some point they had an organist playing ‘singalong’ music. He played the first few chords of that song and the room went silent, he quickly passed to the next song in his medley.
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Old 2nd October 2023, 16:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Nicholson View Post
During the last war my dad's rabbits kept meat on the table.
My grandad was a gamekeeper during WW2 and would shoot a rabbit on his way to our home so we ate a lot of rabbit during the war, too. I grew to dislike the rabbits and the lead shot which didn't do my teeth any good.
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Old 2nd October 2023, 18:39
Engine Serang Northern Ireland Engine Serang is offline
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Certainly unlucky for those of us in Oz.
Rabbits have ruined half the country.
I was in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia years ago and saw an entire hillock 'flow like lava' before my eyes during a rabbit plague.
Myxomatosis and calicivirus are/have reduced rabbit numbers but they are still a curse, along with foxes, feral cats and deer.
Are convicts now an endangered species?
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Old 2nd October 2023, 19:35
rustytrawler England rustytrawler is offline
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Most moved out to Dublin and set up strawberry stalls
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Old 2nd October 2023, 22:37
Engine Serang Northern Ireland Engine Serang is offline
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Its a long long way from Clare to the Flinders Ranges of South Australia. Did you pass O-Level geography? How the hell do you find Bawnboy?
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Old 2nd October 2023, 23:13
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One day and 16 hours from here by plane according to Google and as its only 15° and raining there I won't bother.
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Old 3rd October 2023, 00:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engine Serang View Post
Are convicts now an endangered species?
When the MCC toured Australia in the late 50's or early 60's, Colin Cowdrey was asked by the officer at the immigration desk if he had any convictions when his passport was checked. Mr.Cowdrey replied, " I didn't realise they were still necessary."

They let him through anyway.
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Old 3rd October 2023, 02:53
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Are convicts now an endangered species?
No many convicts are sacred cows.
The endangered are the little people who obey the law and try to do the right thing.
The law protects the crims in a lot of cases here in Victoria at least.
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Old 3rd October 2023, 07:51
Engine Serang Northern Ireland Engine Serang is offline
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Shirley there is an ultra right wing party you can vote for at the next election. The flog 'em and hang 'em party aka the Suella Party.
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Old 3rd October 2023, 08:23
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Australia 🇦🇺 have their own version of small fluffy creatures.
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