Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 12 June 2014
I've sort of been a bit side-tracked when it comes to responding to comments for the last couple of days, and now I have left them so late that I think they have gone off the boil - that's not to say I haven't read them, mind you, and it's not to say I haven't been grateful for them.
I have been dashing about handling and appraising expensive bits of marble, and five minutes of last evening were spent being interviewed by a film crew, so I arrived home rather tired and emotional. I staggered to the keyboard as soon as I heard that Harry Potter's mother has given a million quid to the British contingent of Scottish tribes - hence last night's brief post - then collapsed in a heap before my butler carried me upstairs to bed.
Today I am heading into deepest Gloucestershire to look at another lump of marble, and I will try and resist stopping off at the 100 or so antique shops which line the main street of Prince Charles's home town - I haven't got any spare cash to spend on any of that.
I decided to take a look at my client's petrifying spring yesterday, and this involved walking across a swathe of grass large enough to host the World Cup, right next to a lake which is large enough to float a battleship.
About 100 yards in, I spotted a couple of swans with a handful of cygnets. More importantly, they spotted me as well. The male began to puff itself up and swagger toward me.
I know it is a myth that swans can break your arm with a wing-beat - the bones in their wings are about three times thinner than the bones in your arm - but a swan attack is very disconcerting nevertheless. I turned around and went back to the house.
What a coward I am. The thing is that I hate unpleasantness, and I know that a swan will not give up until either you or it lie dead, bleeding or both. I also know that it is illegal - and probably immoral - to even defend yourself effectively against a swan. You have to have written permission from the Queen to do that, and I didn't have enough time to receive it yesterday, let alone apply for it.
The worst swan attack I ever endured was when I had hired a small boat for a 'pleasure' trip on the river Avon. I went around a wide bend and straight into the territory of a nesting swan. I rowed as fast as I could past the beast's domain, but not as fast as its surging, face-height attacks. The worst thing about it was that I knew I would have to make the return journey in an hour or so, unless I abandoned the boat and took a bus home.
It turns out that this petrifying spring is, in fact, the source of a pretty large river that flows through this part of the country - it actually runs through or past IFORD MANOR (the Hattats are probably too busy entertaining Australian tourists to read this right now).
I'm waiting until the adult swans are too busy scaring off their own children before I go back for another look.