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8.1.10

Leaving the bones




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Archie is excited about the bones and wants to help the girl uncover the skeleton, but I remind him that we are lost, befuddled, duncishly behind schedule, and that we have to catch a train. While Archie says goodbye to the girl, congratulates her for her incredible find, gives her a picture of two teals, as a farewell present, and apologises for our behaviour, Juan and I settle our differences by breaking open a barrel of Vintage Pulteney Founders Reserve and, after drinking toast after toast to Archie, the girl, and all bird-spotters, we wander off down the beach, looking for a train station.

Archie follows us, shouting and waving his arms around in excited exasperation. We can't quite work out what's got into him, so, to calm him down, we give him flasks of Vintage Glen Spey, Glenlossie, Glenmorangie and Glenfarclas Private Reserve, but this just makes him worse and he shouts at us that we are so stupid we didn't even notice that the girl had dug up a giant bird. Juan says that he definitely would have noticed such a thing, and I that can't remember seeing a big bird recently, so we assume Archie is suffering some form of hallucination, caused by excessive partying. Archie draws a diagram of wing, and shoves it into our faces, yelling that the skeleton had the same kind of wing. I look at the sketch and try to tell Archie that what he has drawn is the wing of an adult opisthocomus, and, I would like to point out, the opisthocomus is not common in this area, and, as an opisthocomus is much smaller than the skeleton, it couldn’t possibly be an opisthocomus, but, although I make many attempts, I can't say the word 'opisthocomus'.

Juan glances at the sketch and says that any fool can see that it's not a giant bird, and points out that, obviously, it's an ichthyosaurus, but, I am pleased to note, Juan stumbles over the word 'ichthyosaurus', and, the more he tries to say the word, the more he can't; after spending some time attempting, and failing, to overcome our slurring, we decide to call the thing an 'ichthysthoc cothsthich' as that most closely resembles the noises we are making. After listening to us for a while, Archie sits down, mumbles something abut being in the company of fools, and bursts into tears. We can't imagine what this means until Juan says that he thinks that Archie served with a Lowland Regiment, which is enough to make anyone miserable. To quickly cheer Archie up, we blow up our bagpipes, play 'Highland Mary', 'Highland Nancy', 'Highland Lassie', 'Hieland Laddie', and 'Heilan' Whisky I Adore Thee', and jig around and around, kicking sand at each other, making twisted corkscrew patterns on the shore, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink's Diary