First, I must apologise to my legions of fans (Fred and Gertie Donkins from Peckham) for the long hiatus between my last blog and this one. I have been away from Casa Hallowell on an investigation which, I think, will soon be making headlines across the globe. More of this as it happens, so watch this space.
Anyway, back to business. Geordieland is an advanced kingdom, the laws of which appertain not just to humans but also to other species. Thus, a horse can be arrested for burglary and a blackbird for GBH. The fauna of our land are expected to follow the law just as we are, and woe betide a cocker spaniel who becomes drunk and disorderly or a donkey who fiddles its benefits. The full weight of Geordie jurisprudence will be applied no less severely to them as to farmers who ogle the bosoms of milkmaids or landlords who water down their ale.
To those who are sceptical, I would like to draw your attention to an incident which illustrates the point wonderfully.
On the morning of Sunday, September 25, 1836, a hare entered the village of Burnopfield. This in itself was not a crime back then, although hares, along with other animals, were expected to behave with a reasonable degree of decorum. Bulls were not allowed to impregnate cows within half a mile of the local church, for instance, and ducks were forbidden to quack before 10am on weekends. The hare, unfortunately, decided to throw civility to the wind and engage in some pranks which precipitated a fair degree of righteous indignation amongst the populace. Without warning, it leaped through the living room window of the local constable's house and wreaked pandemonium. A jug of milk was sent flying off the table, a plate of scones went crashing to the floor and – quelle horreur – it pooped in the baby's crib.
Fortunately the constable was at home at the time, and, according to The Local Records or Historical Register of T. Fordyce, he bravely confronted the beast and, after a considerable struggle, arrested it. Now this is where the story gets really interesting, for the hare was not just charged with one offence, but two. As well as facing a charge of criminal damage, the authorities also accused the creature of “indiscretion”. Indiscretion is a serious offence in Geordieland, and carries a minimum sentence of five years in jail.
Alas, we are not told the fate of the hare, or even whether the prosecution was successful, but the story stands as a salutary warning to animals who think they can just wander over the border into our territory and make mockery of our milk, scones and constables.
I am aware that some, particularly those who live in southern places like Sussex, will find this tale incredible. I would refer such ones to a certain Mr. Steve Jones, who will, I am sure, testify that he supplied me with the ancient tome upon which this blog is based.