Toon and country

At last! I have a VIP (Very Important Penpal) in my email address book.

At last! I have a VIP (Very Important Penpal) in my email address book. I am in correspondence with the Conservative Party's "heir to Blair", Mr David Webcameron, and anxiously await his reply.

Why, you ask, is someone who for years has resisted the temptation to vote Tory now emailing the likes of DWC (all Tory leaders since IDS must, apparently, be initialised) as if he were an old school pal with whom I wish to be reunited?

Simple. I want to buy his wind turbine. I read on the Leader's internet site that he's had to dismantle the windmill that waived the rules over his London house because the neighbours weren't keen. So I accepted the "contact me" invitation at www.webcameron and fired off the following:

"Dear DWC, Sorry to hear about your planning problems, but I'd like to buy your wind turbine.

"I'm very serious. I'm a fellow greenie living in North Northumberland and have recently built a summerhouse which needs a small charge to a battery to provide lights and a little heat. As you are unable to use your rooftop windmill in London I'm sure I could use it up here. I've checked with the neighbours, and they are not opposed. In fact, they might hook up to it, too."

I know it's a bit like the good news-bad news joke about the double amputee who is told that the man in the next bed wants to buy his slippers, but Webcameron's woe could be my way to warm the summerhouse.

And I stand more of a chance with him than cadging a second-hand solar panel off that little ray of sunshine at Number Ten, don't I Gordon?

LAST week I penned a hapless little homily on the subject of village halls (the future of ours, you see, is in the melting pot) and included a tale of one neighbourhood parish where complaints about noise led to a decibel meter being installed.

And that, I thought, was that.

Not so, dear reader: within 24 hours the story of one village had turned into a tale of two cities (well almost) with not one but two irate villagers from two quite separate parishes protesting that "your facts are incorrect".

So, to unsuccessful Bowsden Parish Council candidate Phil Campbell, who was even stalked by a nosy Sunday paper as a result of the error, and to the defeated and determinedly anonymous councillor from a quite different parish, who both felt aggrieved that they'd been wrongly portrayed, I am happy to clear the air.

Yes, they have both had problems with their village halls but not resulting in the outcomes I wrote about. Would I make this clear? Of course I will.

And I will also offer my apologies to them for any problems that may have come their way as a result of the article.

Now can we please get back to those harmless tales from the henhoose?

TO misquote Lady Thatcher (and which British journalist who worked in her day has escaped that accusation?): "We are going to be a godmother."

Yes, young Neil and I are currently nursing two dozen eggs in an incubator which glows at a steady Regulo 7.

And they are expected to deliver a squawking brood on June 24.

Assuming, says Neil, that Jock the Cockerel hasn't been firing blanks (in which case General Jock will be demoted to lance-cockerel).

It will be a thoroughly modern multiple delivery: gas and air only, straight into a birthing tank and the very best hen gynaecologist in Northumberland in attendance.

And no chance of repeating the mistake made by my domino partner Robbie's poultry pal, who conned a sitting duck into hatching a brood of hen's eggs when the real mother proved reluctant.

Oh, they hatched out all right.

Everything was going ... well, swimmingly. Until "Lady Hatcher" took her new family down to the pond for a swim!


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