I have returned from my holiday at Monkey-and-Engine-Room Wood - it was not quite the restful retreat that I had been hoping for.
Monkey-and-Engine-Room Wood is full of huge circular flowers that revolve in the breeze as if they were the wheels of an engine. It has a large lake in the middle with trees all around and under them and ranks of the large flowers turn, some fast, some slow on their stems like windmills. It's a most unusual place. So I bought it after my last visit.
The monkeys who live in the wood form into bands and move about the trees in circles. I find it all rather dazzling and bemusing but the Old Monkey is very keen on the place because it gives him the opportunity to revisit his youthful days swinging about with his brethren.
It has become quite a tourist attraction, and we stayed in the splendid five star boarding house now located on the small island in the middle of the lake.
Boats are now hired out so that guests can circumnavigate the water.
I had expected a pleasant and relaxing sojourn in this beauty spot but on arrival we were not made welcome.
As we walked in, Mister Forrard, the proprietor of our Guest House grumbled "Oh it's you - I suppose that you expect to be given free accommodation as well?"
"I beg your pardon?" I inquired "The rent that you pay me is quite sufficient, I would not expect you to house me gratis!"
"Oh," said Mister Forrard, somewhat taken aback, "It's just I assumed that, as we had been required to provide a room for your newly appointed Lake-Keeper, we would also be required to supply yourself with a free room."
"Lake-Keeper?" I asked.
"Yes Sir, and I am reluctant to question your judgement, Sir, but I have to say I find him a most disagreeable chap. Also, I have to say that your tripling of the boat-hire costs has not gone down very well with visitors, Sir!" he countered - clearly trying to hold in a pent up feeling of indignation.
"I have given no such instructions" I replied "Tell me, where would I find this Lake-Keeper?"
"I expect he will be out on the lake, Sir, haranguing the poor tourists, and demanding payment with menaces. I must say, Sir, I was somewhat surprised that you condoned such strong arm tactics!" said a sheepish Forrard.
We decided to investigate who would have the audacity to represent themselves as one of my employees and took a boat out onto the lake.
It came as no surprise to discover Beaver Hateman rowing around the lake - we had heard his raucous cries from a distance.
"Oi, you!" he shouted to some badgers enjoying a dip in the lake "It's an extra bob if you want to swim in ere!"
Then he spotted some ferrets picnicking on the bank. "Bloomin' cheek!" he cried "Don't you kno you can't bring your food? - you gotta buy my scob fish sandwiches! Thats the only grub you is allowed!"
Then he spotted me "Oh blimey! it's the fat tyrant come to ruin my holiday - I spose you just helped yourself to that boat! Half-a-crown you owe me mate - but I don't fink it'll take your weight!" he chortled.
"Need I remind you, Hateman, that all these boats belong to me - and the hire fee is supposed to be one penny!" I shouted back.
"From each according to his jammy wealth, to each according to his needs - and I needed a holiday, mate!" he cackled back at me, "Catch me if you can - lardy bottom!" he added and proceeded to row as back to shore like a bat out of hell.
I have to say this incident somewhat marred my enjoyment of the vacation.