A friend of Balintore has kindly volunteered to have a go at restoring the original bath from the castle which was discovered rather the worse for wear in a local farmyard being used as a cow trough. He very nobly refused payment and I did my best to offer him something "in kind", but to no avail.
Many weeks later, he said that if I found any African taxidermy at an auction, he would quite like such an item. This was an ideal compromise: I check out the local auctions fairly regularly so it is no extra effort to register whether an Impala is looking back at you.
After many months of failed bids, some Antelope horns appeared at a local auction room yesterday. I made a sensible but still modest bid. I know it was a sensible bid as the amount I paid on winning the lot was my maximum bid i.e. someone else would have offered just below this value. OK, so it was not proper taxidermy as such, but I knew it was a fine pair of horns. Proper taxidermy of African specimens carries a price premium, but I had seen some items go for reasonable prices so it was just a question of waiting and pouncing like an African lion. I knew I could not win on an African Cheetah "on price" race. :-)
|The Antelope Horns
Curses, I rather fancied the Antelope horns for the walls of Balintore: I was on the horns of a dilemma. :-) I had to steel myself (like an African Black Mamba about to strike) to offer the horns to my friend today for the greater good. Anyhow, it turns out my friend is currently planning a house move, so decorative items are now not on his agenda and Balintore is the unexpected beneficiary.
Just in case anyone thinks I am of the "animals are for trophies" persuasion, let me tell you a current tale. A pigeon has taken up residence in my kitchen and has been there for the last 3 days. I have been trying to gently persuade it to leave, with open windows and doors being proffered, but to no avail. And I am not the type of person to get a pigeon into a flap. I am a bit concerned about the health of the pigeon. Perhaps it is ill and has taken shelter indoors? Perhaps, it knows it is going to die and wants to spend its last days in a Highland Castle (sounds familiar?). As I have not been bothering the bird, it sits just a few feet away from me. I have recently started feeding it and giving it water so it would not die on my watch. It appears desperate for the food.
I pointed out my new friend to Gregor this afternoon and he immediately started the shooing-out behaviour. And later in the day Gregor reported the pigeon has now gone. I am relieved overall, but one of my theories is that you should allow relationships to develop with the other animals on the planet.