Juan remembers that he promised to pick up some roses for Colinette, in
. I quickly sketch a rose, but he says it’s not a real rose, it’s a dog-rose, and, anyway, he says, he needs a real Picardian rose, as the roses, and women, of Amiens Picardy are the most beautiful women, and roses, in the world. I say that we are a long way from Picardy and, showing him sketches of the landscape, I tell him that a scientist would say, in such a harsh environment, roses are going to take millions of years to evolve, so we shouldn’t wait. But Juan points out that, alongside the dinosaurs, there is a bird, and, as the scientists say that birds evolved from dinosaurs, this proves they’re wrong, and the place is probably crawling with roses.
I hand Juan a sketch of the other bird, the one above the dinosaurs, the larger, less friendly looking bird that is swooping down on us, and remind him that we are under attack, lost, and syrtishly behind schedule. Stopping only to fortify ourselves from our Aberfeldy, Lochside, Inchgower and Glen Spey hip flasks, and, scaring off irritatingly non-extinct creatures by singing The Roses of Picardy at the top of our voices, manically swatting a very big bird, we stagger on, as fast as we possibly can.
Professor Humperdink’s Diary