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The helpful landlord

George, Roly, Albert and Romain have drunk themselves, and beaten each other, into unconsciousness; looking at them, lying amidst piles of rubble, awash with ale and blood, I observe that it looks as if the pub has been occupied by deranged wolves, and I am surprised that the landlord allows customers to behave so badly. Juan agrees, but the landlord, picking up one of George’s paintings and wiping the beer and blood off it, says that artists live on a different plane and the beauty of their work more than makes up for their behaviour. Roly wakes up, mumbles that the painting is rubbish and falls asleep again. I point out that George, Roly and Romain are artists, but Albert is a scientist, and scientists ought to know better. But the landlord says that Albert is German, and all Germans naturally behave like mad dogs, so you have to make allowances. He adds that Albert is also a genius, and normal standards don’t apply to geniuses. Juan asks me what Albert is a genius at, I tell him that Albert is a genius at coming up with ideas that nobody can understand. Juan says that that’s not a sign of genius; it’s what women do all the time. I tell Juan that it comes naturally to women, and they do it for free, but it’s a trait that’s very rare in men, and Albert gets paid for it, which is why he is so acclaimed.

The landlord brings us six pints of ale, which we accept, with thanks, but I tell him that this has to be our last round as we are starrachishly behind schedule, and have to get to aunt Humperdink’s airfield, to pick up another airship. Hearing this, the landlord says that there’s a field behind the pub where an airship can land, so it would be easier, and quicker, if he sent a message to ask for it to be delivered. This is incredibly helpful and, as Juan says, and example of genuine genius. Because the Selborne Arms doesn’t have a licence to sell spirits, Juan goes to collect some barrels of malt, to celebrate.

I kick George, Roly, Albert and Romain awake, Juan returns with Vintage Glen Spey, Benrinnes, Balvenie, and Teaninich Private Reserve, the landlord tells us the message has been sent and the airship should be here soon, we raise our glasses and offer toast after toast to the continued success of the Selborne Arms and the genius of its landlord, then, yelling and cheering with excitement, we link arms and reel round and around in dizzyingly exuberant circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary