Monday 3 March
News arrives via pigeon with a complex that a benevolent stalk has dropped a brand new chick down the chimney of my good friends’ Hebden Bridge love nest. Yes, an heir apparent has emerged from the Watts-Amis’ front bottom – Martina’s of course, Cleggy cheering them on like his beloved Huddersfield before ultimately witnessing the fruits of his tummy banana. I immediately rush to the Antique Weapons Shop on the dark side of our street, commissioning a sword, considered a fitting present from one proud old kingdom to another, and useful protection when crossing the border to go shopping or see some decent footerball. Returning three hours later I am dismayed to be handed a massive steel phallus that would have given Sir Lancelot a hernia. I explain to the elderly serf that the gift is for a child and remind him that I specifically ordered a light saber. He explains that for such delicately crafted goods I must travel to their sister shop far, far away on the other side of town. I prefer a blaster myself and pick up a 28-bore flintlock with a finely checkered butt. We take a celebratory dram or two then stagger round Market Square, top-to-toe in chain mile, firing into the air, until Bateman insists we go hunting for more kebabs. Nothing like a celebration of life to forget one’s own mortality, albeit temporarily.