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Infuriatingly, we can't seem to stop Roly from painting flying birds. Juan says that we should break Roly's arms; this seems a tad excessive but, although I try to explain to Roly that we are clotpollishly behind schedule and have to move on, Roly tells us that he wants to paint a chaffinch as she flies down to feed her chicks. I say that the chaffinch is a common bird, hardly worth bothering with, and remind him that George Rankin already painted a perfectly decent chaffinch, so there's no reason to paint the bird again, but Roly says that, just because it's common, that doesn't mean it's not attractive and interesting, in fact, he says, Edwin Morgan, the great, but often befuddled, Scottish cartographer, mapped Scotland using chaffinches, and, he adds, George Rankin painted a chaffinch standing beside her nest, which any addled moron could do, but it takes real skill to paint a flying chaffinch.

I tell Roly that, if he wants to paint a chaffinch in flight, we can buy a stuffed one, tie it on a string, and he can paint it while we whirl it around in the air, Roly doesn't appear very enthusiastic about this idea and tells us to go away and do something creative while we wait for him to finish his picture.

The most creative thing we can think to do is to break open our Vintage Talisker, Jura, Dalmore, and Glendronach Founders Reserve, offer toast after toast to common birds, sing ‘A Bushel and a Peck’ at the top of our voices, and hop around in frantic circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

Chaffinch Map of