Tempted by a right royal experience

DECIDING to do things at the last minute is a trait which I cannot deny but I am tempted to change the habit of a lifetime and book months ahead.

What has caught my eye is the chance to spend an evening of music and fine dining aboard the royal yacht Britannia in the first week of December.

We would be one of just 40 couples to enjoy what I am assured will be “the kind of entertainment between each of four sumptuous courses that Her Majesty the Queen would have laid on for her guests”.

After being piped aboard, guests will enjoy cocktails and canap�s by the grand piano in the drawing room followed by a guided tour of the ship before going into the State Dining Room for a magnificent repast.

Promised between courses are popular carols, festive music and comic songs performed by soloists from the Royal Opera House in London.


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And after the special evening is over, we will repair to a five star hotel for a luxurious night.

All I have to do is write out a cheque. Let me just look up the price. Oh, I discover the package is �459 plus VAT per person. And then there is the cost of getting to Edinburgh where the Britannia is berthed.

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On second thoughts, I really don’t think I want to spend upwards of �1,500 on going out to dinner. Now where’s the menu for the local takeaway?

When I was at school it did cross my mind that I would like to become a policeman. It seemed to be an exciting job, packed full of challenges and adventure.

It was not to be, but over the years I have occasionally wondered what I had missed out on by not becoming a cop.

This was brought home to me the other day when I read about something going on in Colchester, Essex.

It started with complaints being made to the local council about strange noises at night. Officers launched an investigation and discovered that they were listening to the mating calls of marsh frogs. As council officers are wont to do, they then spent some time creeping around in the dark getting a decibel noise reading.

One resident they visited thought that was the end of it, but a week later two policemen turned up and said they had come to investigate the frogs.

Marsh frogs originate from mainland Europe and were introduced to England 75 years ago. As they are not native to this country, the council was legally obliged to tell the police.

Another resident reportedly received a letter from the police’s wildlife crime unit informing him that the frogs which had been in his pond for 25 years would have to be removed because they were a non-native species and were causing a noise nuisance.

So now the long arm of the law is set to be plunged into a number of ponds to collar the offenders and escort them off the premises to other watering holes where, presumably, exactly the same thing could happen to them. Who’d be a frog when the might of the constabulary is against you?

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