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     It was about this time that forget-me-nots began to grow from the hole in my hood. I looked very distinguished and even more so when Ken’s delightful daughter, Naomi, signed me up to Jubilee 2000 and sent me an elegantly decorated T shirt. The editor had to keep me indoors now to protect the garment but she also needed to water my forget-me-nots. Once a week she divested me of my T-shirt, stood me in a bucket, watered me well, dried me off and replaced my clothing. Strangely, as the weeks passed, she grew tired of this process and my T-shirt was removed and put in the Gazette museum and I was returned to the pond.




 We were a contented enough bunch but then rumours of the Brands moving to Oxfordshire began to circulate. We put it to the editor that we were ready for a change as long as there was a pond at the new house. She muttered something that could have meant anything and said the choice was ours. We all agreed to go, apart from Foxy, who had too many unfinished business deals along the Northern Line, and Hal of course who did not fancy anyone digging up his roots.

   We suffered the indignity of the removals van and what did we find when we arrived in Thame? No pond at all; just something they called a ‘Water feature’! We stood around it for months and complained repeatedly until at last, after a visit from Mr Green, a pond was dug – professionally this time  - and we were given a proper setting.



   I had some good times in Finchley. Foxy would come down from the embankment at night with a rather good brew made from rotten pears. I had Taffy the Welsh lion for spirited discussions and St. Francis, for moments of spiritual uplift. Hal (named after the Earl of Southampton) the mulberry tree would go on a bit about his genetic memories of Shakespeare sitting under his ancestor and writing plays;      “You gave him ideas for Hamlet?” Minnie would say. “Pull the other whisker.”