The last gig of the year is in the bag. Two singles have been completed and the album is on its way. We got in a drummer. And there’s still a month left to go in 2011. Probably too soon to start looking back over the year that was and furthermore that’s not the sort of thing we do. That requires the exercising of brain cells that I have taken great pains and spent large sums of money to destroy.
You see, there are some things that I really don’t want to remember. I’ve purged a lot of them, such as why I can’t stand the sight of chives, why I whistle the theme tune to Dad’s Army whenever I see a duck egg and why I have a prosthetic arm. There’s a lot of work still to be done though.
Such as the time I was working for the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust. I had worked as part of the team that had been restoring the turf sided Monkey Marsh Lock, which is just outside Thatcham and is listed as an ancient monument. A ceremony was to be held to celebrate the re-opening of the canal and the Queen was to the guest of honour. It was all very exciting indeed.
The grand day came and I put on my best canal hat, like a river hat but with a wood pigeon feather rather than lark’s foot, and my favourite galoshes and made my way to the place where the Queen would be boarding the Rose of Hungerford to travel between locks 44 and 43.
I arrived quite early, a habit which I have been unable to break to this very day and has seen me get into no end of trouble. “In nunc arcu ite ingrate”, as it says on my coat of arms.
So there I was. My task for the day was to prepare the cucumber sandwiches and make sure that no children were drowned. Varied tasks you might think, but you’re probably not too familiar with that stretch of the Kennet and Avon canal. I set to work on the former, since there were no children there at that time. Not everyone likes cucumber sandwiches, but those people are not the sort of people who would be attending a visit by the Queen to the opening of a stretch of canal. For a bit of variety Mary Sanders Rose, of the Berkshire Sanders Roses, was going to be supplying some tongue sandwiches. A marvellous spread to be sure!
I had finished trimming my 145th crust when I heard a scream from near the side of the canal. Screaming is not the done thing in that part of the world, especially when the Queen is due to visit. Hurrying in the general direction, I saw a horrible sight; a green faced lizard creature, dressed in a blue, green and pink paisley frock molesting a poor young man who had been attempting to clear a couple of old plastic bags from the bulrushes, its arm shoved up this poor chap’s fundament to the elbow. His screams of torment were horrific and on seeing me he begged for assistance.
Now, I’ve been around a bit and tangled with more than my fair share of green skinned water lizard people. Things to remember:
- Be polite
- Offer a sandwich
I waved a cheerful hello to the monster and jogged back to the pile of sandwiches I had prepared, popped a few onto a plate and made my way back. The ordeal was still not over and if you ask me I think that the creature was taking its time just to be cruel. Naturally vicious you see.
I offered it a sandwich, pointing out that they were cucumber. This appeared to please the creature, who withdrew its claw and took one. I tried not to show my disgust at its lack of basic food hygiene, since this was hardly the appropriate time, although I confess to tutting ever so quietly.
It was as it reached for another sandwich that I noticed the indentation on the top its head. This hollow held a pool of water which the creature was careful to not spill. Realising what I was dealing with I snapped out a brisk bow, which it returned promptly, spilling the water and suddenly becoming immobile. I signalled to the creature’s victim to make a run for it, or to at least do the best he could, and we both beat a hasty retreat.
After giving the chap a nice cup of tea and a cushion to sit on I returned to spot where the creature had been, but it was gone. At that moment I heard the band strike up a tune as the royal party arrived.
It was a grand day out. Here's a nice picture of the Queen taken on the day.
That is all. Get out of my house.