Grumpy Old Man

By Maurice1948

The bones of a good tail!

I had hoped to do a litter pick today as I haven't been around lately to do my usual circuit, but before long the rain set in and I've had to put it off. We walked down to the town on Saturday and there's quite a bit of rubbish around, particularly on Jacob's Ladder - you would never have thought that the Oban Mountain Rescue had come to our rescue and abseiled down the bank to collect rubbish not that long ago! It's just as bad, or worse, again. Maybe a stiff letter to the Oban Times is the next step!
My Blip today is of some cow bones! When I was down in London recently I was walking along the north Thames Path in the City, and passed by the ancient dock known as Queenshithe. It's the only remaining Thames inlet in the City of London, and was in existence at the time of Alfred the Great. Matilda, wife of Henry 1st, was granted duties on goods landed there - it was used to unload grain. It was still in use in the early 20th century by the fur and tanning trades apparently. I love this ancient history!
Anyway, the Thames Path takes you away from the river to round this dock and on the wall I spotted a couple of ancient bones. I took photographs and wondered why they were left sitting on the wall. After moving on I thought that I should maybe go back and pick them up, in case they were something historic, and find out about them. I did, and this morning I contacted the Natural History Museum, attaching photographs, and was surprised to receive a reply within 45 minutes, explaining that they were ancient cow bones, the remains of a scapula and a metatarsal. The Identification and Advisory Officer replied to say  that the  specimens were old, but not prehistoric or fossil, and he included diagrams to show the position of the bones in a cow’s skeleton. I was most impressed with such a speedy and comprehensive reply! He said that bones from butchered cows were not uncommon in the Thames - I suppose the butchers just tossed all the unwanted bits into the river!

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