ballista, ballistics, Bitcoin, catapults, Conservation Area, Cowes, Damascus Road, Evilbay, guillotines, gun emplacement, Jim Davidson, Mons Meg, No Man's Land, patio heater, Philistinism, pocket artillery, Royal Yacht Squadron, solar panels, Solent, sphinx, trebuchets
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
’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.
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.