The Accident Book … extract # 13
(Watkins & The Accidental Ceiling of Great Joy)
Those of you who joined me previously will no doubt remember the last unfortunate incident concerning Watkins. What follows is another extract from the ACCIDENT BOOK as recorded by Lord & Lady Northbunker on their estate in Dorset.
Extract # 13 – Watkins & The Accidental Ceiling of Great Joy
TREES. I am writing this in the glorious summery shade of the old oak tree. It is a truly magnificent specimen and I often come out here in order to ponder deep matters or seek solace in the latest issue of Horse & Hound. Also, Lady Northbunker’s sister has come to stay for a few days. She is an absolutely horrifying woman. I want to die. Anyway … TREES. Arboreally-speaking I must confess to being just a bit of an ignoramus. I really don’t know my ash from my elderberry, so to speak. It was, therefore, with great delight that I recently discovered Watkins is quite the expert when it comes to matters concerning our woody friends.
We’d both found ourselves down at our local, the Crooked Beams the other evening. The occasion was the Grand Final of the area pub-quiz league. The team representing said Crooked Beams consisted of Colonel Bowman, Mrs Bottomley, Watkins and myself. And we were up against some very stiff competition from the Strangled Monkey. Things were absolutely neck-and-neck. Right down to the jolly old wire and all that. So it came to a nail-biting tie-breaker. Our question master for the evening was Brainy Arthur who now held us all in his schoolmasterly gaze …
” WHAT IS THE LATIN NAME FOR THE COMMON HORSE CHESTNUT TREE ? “
Well, you could have heard a pin drop. Actually … you could have heard a mouse fart in the next village. It seemed that the entire assembled company didn’t have a clue as to what the answer could be. Not the foggiest bloody notion. Until Watkins, the old dark horse sitting in the corner demurely sipping his pint, suddenly pipes up … “That’ll be your actual Aesculus Hippocastanum if I’m not much mistaken.” The rest of us immediately turned as one in Brainy Arthur’s direction for some form of verification. Arthur, always one for milking it, takes several theatrical sips of his Famous Grouse before placing his empty glass on the bar.
So. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. That was that. The Strangled Monkey conceded defeat and we of the Crooked Beams were victorious. And all thanks to the bright and glorious Watkins. He was well and truly top of the proverbial tree. We were absolutely elated as you can imagine. Awe and admiration, Watkins. Awe and admiration. We hoisted the cunning old devil up onto our collective shoulders and took him on a victory parade around the whole establishment. We went leaping about the place like mad things in ecstatic raptures of unbridled joy.
I feel I need to point out here that not only were the beams of our happy hostelry very crooked. They were also very solid and unyielding buggers that required much stooping of heads at the best of times. Thus, quite understandably, Watkins’s proud and noble skull received several hefty cracks during the course of our merrrymaking. Still, given the joyous circumstances, he seemed as happy as a pig in muck, albeit an unconscious one.
We eventually took note and laid him out on the snooker table where Mrs Bottomley promptly administered what first-aid she could muster. The rest of us looked on with celebratory drinks in hand. The emergency services were summoned and arrived very quickly. Our hero was all bandaged up and soon restored to the rudest of health.