The Loop: What do you do with lion urine?


Welcome to The Loop, the Magazine's letters column, including the best of your thoughts from Twitter and Facebook.

Readers will, we hope, excuse confusion on our part this week when we saw this tweet from Noel Lynch. He wrote: "A lion tamer friend of mine once told me that lion urine works very well." But what was he referring to?

Something to do with how to deter foxes from your garden, perhaps? The Magazine spoke to a fox expert who specialises in removing them in ways that will not harm the animal. They call it "humane deterrence" and don't like to be labelled as pest controllers. The trick is to disturb the wily creatures' normal behaviour.

The piece singularly failed to discuss how one might humanely collect lion urine, however. So we thought perhaps the tip was something about how to deal with problematic housemates, as the Magazine had also noted that the high cost of rent in the UK forces many people into multiple-person houseshares.

Avoiding picking a duff housemate can be tricky, but there could be a few signs to look out for.

@Philly_Spurr: "If they come to view a flat with their annoying partner & casually enquire about a double bed, its a no go!"

Housemates' partners can be trouble makers, as John Morris pointed out: "I shared a house with two girls in Shooters Hill in the 1970s. One day I came home and one of the girl's boyfriends had adorned the living room and hall with posters for the Socialist Workers' Party. I left."

Amy Wilson for Leamington Spa is having a much more positive experience, though.

"I currently live in a house share with 20 other people. Our little community comprises international students, young professionals and the odd nutter. The biggest thing I have learnt is compromise. The kitchens may not always be clean and food goes missing, but the experience of living with so many different people and cultures makes up for it tenfold. I have learnt so much from the people I live with I can forgive the odd mouldy cup!"

After pondering Noel's tweet at length, we thought it might be referring to the story about exotic pastries - a new generation of French pastry chefs are reinventing their craft with audacious creations. Anyone for a caramel popcorn, pistachio orange or pecan eclair, or an olive-oil macaroon with mandarin orange and cucumber water? Perhaps these new flavours are crying out for a secret ingredient.

Ingredients - particularly bitter ones - are popular with drinks such as the Aperol spritz, the Negroni, and a host of cocktails flavoured with "bitters". The taste of Negronis was the subject of a conversation by readers on Facebook.

Could someone please help Sanjeev Prakash out? "Alright, I 'fess: I like Campari as an aperitif, but what the blazes is a Negroni..? Gin +______?"

Jane Shepherd, perhaps, who loves Negronis. "When I was 23 I came back from an Italian break with a bottle of Campari, a drink I'd enjoyed in Rome and Sorrento. Instead of sipping it sedately and making it last, I made a big bucket of Negroni (not so easy on the gin) with my flatmates and felt no pain whatsoever."

One thing we know a Negroni is not made from is lion urine.

C'mon Noel Lynch, help us out here.

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