Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Jam and chickens
Following on from last night's Richard Plantagenet post, I thought I would show you one of his direct descendants - he's the one on the right, comparing fish sizes with his somewhat humiliated mate, in the beautiful setting of his mother-in-law's Scottish estate.
If you ever fancied going up to the West Coast and spending a week or two fishing for salmon, stalking deer or just generally trudging through the heather, then you would be most welcome, because he and his lovely missus run a bed and breakfast from a couple of the many cottages on the estate, and I will put you in touch with his services. You have to have pretty deep pockets to stalk deer these days, so be warned.
"That's Highland economics", explained Roger Livesey in the Powell and Pressburger film, 'I know where I'm Going', when asked by the bemused Wendy Hiller why the laird preferred to rent his island out for three years out of four, rather than spend time that he cannot afford living there permanently, or just selling it all together.
Norrie and Anna's supplementary income involves jam, chutney and chickens. When I spoke to her last night, she was just 'putting the chickens to bed', and Norrie was down in the Lake District picking fruit for his jam business. Not just buying, but picking. That's Highland economics.
Norrie used to have an office in Soho, London, from where he worked in the film industry, but his mother had a small estate in Scotland which pretty much bordered on the huge one of his wife-to-be's mother's, and they ended up joining forces by marrying. Their wedding was probably the jolliest I have ever been to, and lasted about a week. Glorious walks in the stunning countryside, a pink castle and standing at the water's edge looking over at Mull, with evenings of riotous frivolity when elderly, retired bankers 'stripped the willow' with teenage, Scottish punks.
I think that Norrie got into the jam business after entering a pot in a local produce competition, judged by a panel of ancient Highland worthies. He had just finished bottling his first batch, and opened one to taste it. He thought it was good - very good.
After the first taste, he turned to Anna and said, "This jam is fucking WONDERFUL!"
So he decided to enter it into the produce competition, and set about thinking of a name for it to put on the labels. He quickly decided on, 'NORRIE'S FUCKING WONDERFUL DAMSON JAM'.
Sadly, it was disqualified before it was even tasted.