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Photo of Mons Meg

Carrie was livid. What’s up? I enquired.

Oh, is there no peace nowadays?

Not for the wicked, I joked, but she threw me a warning flash.

I discovered Nutwood Cottage fifteen years ago and we chose to live

there because it was in an area of outstanding beauty, in a Conservation

Area, she elucidated.  Now I feel like selling up and going to live in one of

those gun emplacements out in The Solent.

You can’t afford a helicopter, I cautioned.  And anyway, No Man’s Land,

as I think one of them is called, is now a luxury hotel.

Well, I feel as if I am under siege where we are, she went on.  If it’s not

foliage encroachment, it is trampoline torture; screaming from swimming

pools; asphyxiation by barbecue and aural harassment by barking pooches.

No wonder I want to live somewhere fort-like which would probably only

be susceptible to nuclear attack.

Yes, I conceded.  It is irritating having to bag other people’s leaves… 

..And having one’s sight lines obstructed by ugly garden houses

constructed of a melamine-like material is equally annoying,

she continued.  I mean, why do we seek planning permission to

maintain mellow brickwork with lime mortar to give the vulgarians

a subtle view, when they are hell-bent on foisting their nouveau taste

on us?

’tis a mystery..I consoled her. I too have been rendered temporarily

sightless like Paul on the Damascus Road, by glare from solar panels

and have been deafened by the mosquito-like whine from turbines.

But what can one do in this age of Philistinism?

Pocket artillery, she pronounced.

What are you talking about? I asked her. Are you referring to

something like those twenty two cannons they fire at The Royal

Yacht Squadron at Cowes?

Yes, and no, she said, Sphinx-like in her expression.  Actually,

I saw some mini cannons to end all mini cannons on Evilbay.


Yeah, she clarified.  You can load the muzzle and they pack quite

a punch with a firework fuse.  You can pay for them with Bitcoin.

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You don’t need wadding and the range is about one hundred yards- enough to

blast the charred sweetcorn from anticipatory gobs.

Carrie!  I was shocked at her language- less so at the concept, though

I suspected the practice might be illegal.

Actually, maybe you could send me the link?

They have trebuchets, catapults, ballista and guillotines as well.

Golly, ballista?- I thought that was a waiter in an upmarket coffee shop,

I admitted. Only kiddin’, but hmm..no, the cannons should suffice.  Do

they have-say- any in Mons Meg sizes?  Maybe too over the top for an

urban garden, though?

I’ll investigate and let you know.  Ha ha!  Light my fire, you losers!

She was getting carried away! I don’t think you even need a licence

if they are pre- 1939.

Wow! Watch out, urban bullies with a taste for hacienda life, no doubt

acquired by too many Andalusian jollies in the 1970s, when you brought

back ceramic house number plaques along with your straw donkeys, later

expanding your aesthetic horizons to take in mosaic garden furniture and a

smoking chiminea, which you sit alongside, warmed by patio heaters and

becoming progressively sozzled in the cool night air of an English Indian

summer, cackling mindlessly at some stale Jim Davidson jocularities

recounted by an idiot, signifying nothing.

Trust you to rant in Shakespearean lingo, Candia!

So, it’s backyard ballistics then? I was running out of rhetoric.

It’s the only way to fire them a broadside, she stated firmly.

But you will apply for planning permission before you mount

weaponry on your gateposts to propel some roast potatoes to

complement their al fresco menus?

Of course, she scowled.  What do you take me for- a barbarian?

No comment, I replied.