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12.5.16

The Bull and Mouth







Running along Angel Street, seeing two signboards outside the Bull and Mouth, we all agree that, although we are oanshachishly behind schedule and can’t stop for any reason, the Bull and Mouth is a traditional pub, steeped in local history and it would be it would be disrespectful and a dereliction of duty if we didn’t take the opportunity to learn more about this historic building and its two interesting signboards. In the pub, the barman tells us that he is very proud of the signboards and he starts to tell us about how the place came to be named the Bull and Mouth and the history of the signboards, but all history is pointless and too dull to listen to; as Juan says, when he meets at a beautiful woman, he doesn’t care about her history, and everything is like that, so we ignore the barman’s boring story and order a dozen bottles Glen Moray Special Reserve and beers all round.

I notice my old friend, Reverend Tam MacTavish, slumped over a table, I slap him awake, he looks dizzy and confused and says that he feels sick. I introduce him to everyone, telling them that, unusually for a MacTavish, he isn’t as stupid as he looks, and give him a bottle of Tullibardine, to make him feel better. Tam says that he isn’t a reverend any more and explains that, after the problem with the piranhas in the font and a few other unfortunate incidents, he was thrown out of the church, so he became a detective.

Tam is interrupted by the sound of a table breaking, Juan laughing, and Rory shouting in pain and fear. I tell Tam that Rory can’t ride a horse and we don’t have a horse, but, soon, he is going hunting on a horse, a horse can throw someone in lots of different ways, so Juan is teaching Rory how to be thrown in lots of different ways, without a horse. As I say this, Juan gets Rory in a three-quarter nelson and slams Rory’s head on the ground. I tell Tam that this is to teach Rory always to wear a hard hat when being thrown.

Tam is worried that Rory might get hurt and says that Juan’s teaching methods are dangerous. I tell Tam not to worry, Juan and Rory are only wrestling, wrestling holds and moves are carefully designed to be wholly safe, wrestling isn’t a sport, it’s a spectacle, like poodle-juggling, nobody actually gets hurt, except the occasional poodle, and I show Tam diagrams of the wrestling moves that Juan is demonstrating and we watch with interest as Juan grabs Rory in a side-chancery and slams him against the wall. I tell Tam that this teaches Rory that, when he is thrown from a horse, before he hits the ground, he might hit something solid like a tree or a wall, so he should be prepared.

Tam shows me a photograph and tells us that he is investigating a suspicious incident involving the ladies’ hunt and that this is one of his suspects. I look at the picture and tell Tam that there must be some mistake, it’s Roxane, I know her, it is true that she is a very unpleasant and dangerous character, but, nonetheless, I think she is unlikely to actually break the law. He says it isn’t Roxane, it is Miss Ethel Talbot, I tell him that I don't know Ethel Talbot, she might be a dangerous criminal, but this is Roxane and she definitely isn’t a criminal, unless you count kicking a man to death as a crime. Tam looks shocked and says that, of course, kicking a man to death is a crime, a terrible crime, but her name isn’t Roxane, it is Ethel, and she hasn’t done anything as awful as kick someone to death, it is ridiculous to think that she would, or could, I tell Tam that I’m not talking about Ethel because I don’t know her, I’m talking about Roxane, who I do know, and I know that she will kick anyone, in fact, she recently stamped a groom to death and she is responsible for a lot of other serious injuries; she is, I explain, very strong, violent, stupid, has a vicious temper, and can kick equally well with any one of her four legs, but she isn’t a criminal. Tam says that sounds like Ethel Talbot but Ethel is called Ethel and not Roxane and only kicks servants, small animals and poor people, and she doesn’t have four legs.

We are interrupted by Juan throwing Rory out of the window. We pay the barman for the broken window, the smashed furniture and the broken bottles and glasses, clean up the mess and scrub blood from the floor and walls, then, to help us recover from our exertions, we buy a crate of of vintage Balvenie Private Reserve and more beers, then, drinking toast after toast to the knowledgeable barman, the wonderful history of the area, and all the fascinating things we have learned about the Bull and Mouth, we stumble out of the pub and, singing and shouting with excitement, we stagger up and down Angel Street, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary