Voicemail this afternoon. Daily Mirror wants me to ring back. What on earth can I have done now? Hope Phill hasn't messed up my expenses. Perhaps they've uncovered that I once voted for Plaid Cymru before I'd properly grown up. Anyway, nervously rang back. "There's a problem with one of your tweets". Not again I thought. Once had a bit of bother after blogging that Paul McCartney's lawyer looking good after his ex, Heather threw a jug of water over her. Been very careful to avoid trouble ever since. General policy is that 'Boring is Best'.
Anyway this is the offending tweet. "Beautiful antlered stag in the garden, browsing on the shrubs border. "Oooh", said all the family. I just wished I had my 12 bore handy". It seems that some animal rights groups had considered this an offencive comment for an MP to make. I accept that reference to a 12 bore was wrong. It should have been a .22 or some other rifle. Someone I know once did shoot a deer with a shotgun - a truly dreadful thing to do. He never did it again. In the interests of completeness, I should add that I've not shot anything for over 40 years, though I have 'shot at' grey squirrels and a horrid feral cat with an airgun. Always missed. But when it comes to deer in the garden, I can still think about shooting them. I thought it was a Mirror joke to begin with - but No. The complaints were for real. So now I'll be right up there with Prince Phillip in the public consciousness. Unfortunately I do not have a gun, or a gun licence - so it can be no more than a dream. I suppose I could buy a bow and arrow. I am after all the reigning Parliamentary Archery Champion.
Deer are a nightmare in our garden. Escapees from nearby Powis Castle have established wild herds of Red and Fallow Deer numbering thousands. Every year, a few of them sneak into our garden, usually during very early hours, and home in on our most valued shrubs. Adding insult, they normally just spit out the severed bits uneaten. Always go for the variegated Aralias and choicest bamboos. During the spring/summer, I hide a switched-on radio in the middle of the borders all night to put them off. Even change the station to prevent them becoming addicts of certain programmes. Friend of mine told me he thought subjecting them to listen to John Humphrys grilling hapless politicians was more cruel than shooting them. Anyway, I wonder what the Mirror will make of this. Something like "Heartless Tory makes joke of killing Bambi". I expect my career to survive.