I mentioned in a previous post that we’d planned to visit Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire, ancestral home of the Earls of Lichfield. Amongst the 19th Century Grade One listed gardens are eight monuments – or ‘follies’ – some erected as early as the 1750s. It is said that on these follies, various inscriptions allude to the mysterious Man-Monkey, a large ape-like spectral creature that has been repeatedly seen in the areas around Cannock Chase since the 1800s. You can read more about the strange beast here.
This mid-life crisis is really taking its toll on me. Most guys who reach their mid-forties might change their car, perhaps going for a convertible or a sports model. Some might decide to wear white trainers, take up a sport with an unhealthy enthusiasm, get a David Beckham haircut. Others might grab themselves a mistress, or quit their job to become a ranger at Whirinaki Forest Park in New Zealand, or go vegetarian, or decide to start eating meat again. Or even go on a cabbage soup diet.
I bought a wizard’s staff.
We haven’t been out in Betsy this week. Sure, we discussed it. Ruthie had planned a walk around Shugborough Hall and Milford Common, which would have given me a chance to check out the markings on the follies dotted about the Hall’s gardens which, according to Nick Redfern the full-time monster hunter, allude to the infamous Man-Monkey seen at Bridge 39 on the Shropshire Union Canal in 1879.
But with the weather forecast to be wet and dreary, I did what most men do when planned events are cancelled at the last minute and they’re left with nothing to do. I decided to screw with my mind with the aid of Bing (I don’t have a games console).
Ruthie stood at the kitchen table, fists clenched and brow furrowed.
‘I just cannot bloody believe it! The cheek of them!’ she fumed.
‘What’s that?’ I asked, glancing up from Level 10 of Angry Birds, ‘You look a bit piqued.’
Ruthie was having another bout of middle-class-ness. She wafted her hand in the air as if swatting an invisible fly. ‘I didn’t get my free coriander in my veg box!’
A few seconds ago, I’d wondered why she was frantically swirling her hand around inside the carton, a bit like an excited kid playing lucky dip at a village fete, eager to grasp something other than last Christmas’s cracker cast-offs. But this was no fun. Ruthie had been short-changed. And when you’re having a middle-class “episode”, a missing coriander is enough to drive you to do something that will attract the attention of someone like DCI Barnaby. Continue reading
Have you ever wondered how men and women think differently? Take a look at Ruthie above. I know. I have absolutely no idea why the sword is pointing downwards – unless of course she’s finishing off a fallen combatant. Now, if you give a play sword to a bloke and say ‘pose for the camera,’ he’ll hold it like this…
Just a thought.