Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 14 June 2014
When 536 people got together a year ago to save The Bell Inn, it wasn't (except for one predictable case) to cream a handsome 4% profit from their investment, but to save it from falling into the hands of a huge, property-heavy conglomerate of a company who would - most likely - transform it into something beyond recognition, if not completely destroy it.
"Imagine," was a common prediction, "They would have a huge, wide-screen T.V. over the fireplace, and it would turn into a sports-bar, just like the Pig and Fiddle!"
So this is The Bell's concession to the 2014 contest of World Cup football, which I am told is being played out right at this very moment.
I had offered to bring my 2.25 inch, Casio portable T.V. so they could play 'spot the ball' at the same time as gambling on the outcomes, but I think they had to opt for something a bit larger. The viewing is ticketed, but the tickets are free.
As far as the Norwich versus Bath Peregrine match goes, the score has changed quite dramatically since I last mentioned it.
One of the Norwich fledglings has been found dead in the Cathedral Close, but showed no signs of how. I mean how it died, not how dead it was. We are waiting for a post-mortem to establish the cause.
Yesterday, we all turned on our webcams here in Bath - and all over the world - to find a roost with only one adult in it. The chick - which was too young to fly off successfully - had been spotted stretching its wings at about 5.00 am, too close to the edge. It stumbled out of shot and the rest of the day was spent looking to see where it had landed.
I couldn't resist walking down the river tow-path to see if I could spot it, and saw a group of about 15 men with binoculars and back-packs looking for it on the other side. We went to bed in trepidation last night, but awoke to the news that it had been sighted on a nearby, safe roost, with its parents still taking care of it.
Every year we put ourselves through this anxiety, watching these cute little killers grow up until we feel we know them personally, even if they are on the other side of the country. Because I am only a few hundred yards from the single Bath chick, I seriously contemplated buying a pair of leather gloves just incase it landed in the street outside our compact but adorable city apartment and I had to shift it. Even at that age, the 'little' thing could still rip my hands completely apart.
There was another minor - much more minor, in the scheme of things - disaster which befell me yesterday.
As any mason knows... actually, stop right there. The mason who cut my large block of expensive marble obviously didn't know this: When marking out a block which has been sawn on all six sides, the person who is going to turn it into something else of an architectural nature, will mark at least one face with a perfectly 90 degree cross, the intersection of which is exactly dead-centre to the whole piece. This has been standard practice ever since King Solomon built his little temple.
I phoned the cutters in Bristol four times, with the information that there was only ONE cut to make on this block, and I clearly marked the off-cut in the traditional way, by scribing random, diagonal pencil marks on the waste side.
When I went to pick it up yesterday, I found four, small, identical and unusable pieces sitting on the off-cut. The sawyer had cut right along my centre markings, making three cuts in total, not the one I had asked for.
This was a £1000 mistake, but luckily I have a large enough off-cut to make it again. This time I am doing it myself.