School's out for summer, which means it's time to deploy the evacuate-the-house-before-they-tear-it-down maneouvre more politely known as "Kids, let's go to a museum!"
The British Museum it was. Having viewed the mummies (linen is very hard wearing!) and the Parthenon Marbles (Lord Elgin has been relieved of his nominal claim--they'll be in the new museum in Athens by the London Olympics, I promise you . . . ).
Anyway, we were hustling toward the exit through the Roman Gallery 70, and there is was. Snacks would have to wait. Because never in my wildest dreams would I expect to see a suit of armor made from a crocodile skin. Awesome in the fullest sense of the word. A third-century AD ritual garment crafted by the Crocodile Sect of Manfalut in central Egypt. Presented to the museum by a no-doubt equally fearsome 'Mrs Andrews', who discovered it in a cave filled with mummified crocodiles and the cultists that loved them.
Which of course got me to thinking of whether there might be a modern (or at least retro-modern) equivalent. And oh yes, there most certainly is.
It seems that pre-Castro Cuba had quite a nice little line in souvenir alligator bags crafted with the heads and feet of wee reptilians still attached. These fall into the category of Taxiderm-Chic, which has in recent decades fallen so deeply into disfavor. If you need a reminder why:
There are many such examples on eBay and other vintage vendors. Bidding is light. I can think of no better deterrent against pursesnatchers. See you later.