I find skinning mammals the easiest
and most rewarding.
Squirrels are particularly satisfying.
When my second child was a few weeks old
I was struck by how similar her limbs felt
to those of a rabbit.
I frequently find rabbits with grass in their mouths.
They have been eating,
looked up, and been shot.
Allow your fingers to encircle the bone.
Peel and cut down to the toes.
This is fiddly and slow work.
Peel until the skin is free from the body,
and you have the head in your hand.
Use the scalpel until the corner of the eyelid
comes away, then use scissors
to snip round the eyelids.
Trim away any surplus tissue
whilst washing it in warm, soapy water
removing any blood.
Wash the skins in petrol or white spirit.
In the washing machine, this works a treat.
This does not work with birds.
Fill the limbs, eye sockets and mouth with cotton wool.
Stuff the rest with wood wool,
shaping as you go.
I find birds quite difficult.
I don’t enjoy the otherness,
It gives me the creeps.
My son’s name is Harvey.
He’s bought loads of rabbits.
He shows no interest in cuddly toys.