In the midst of the whole MPs’ expenses row it seems two particular cases have caught the public imagination (and fired their ire).
First it was the fantastically ‘up-yours-plebs’ moat cleaning claimed by Douglas Hogg and more recently it’s been the Duck Island purchased by Sir Peter Viggers.
The Twittersphere was all over it. First, @CountryLifeProp tweeted one of their archived articles on duck islands:
How to create a duck island a la Sir Peter Viggers post from our archive http://ow.ly/89RI
And then the @guardianeco posted a very cheeky:
Must-have duck houses for every budget http://tinyurl.com/qrzsmv
Well we couldn’t very well just stand by and watch, could we, what with our airborne canards logo and all? So we’ve donned our waders, pulled out the pondweed and proudly present:
5 Houses with Duck Ponds
5 bedroom house for sale: Rural Smarden, Kent
3 bedroom detached house to let: The Stables Tillycorthie Udny, Ellon, Aberdeenshire
4 bedroom house for sale: Killin, Stirling
Country House for sale: Montreuil Sur Mer, Pas-De-Calais, Nord Pas de Calais, France
2 bedroom flat for sale: Byron Close, Leicester, Fleckney, Leicestershire
Apparently it’s quite the thing for the country set to have a few of these woolly blighters wandering round the paddock.
But the wheels of fashion – and social one-upmanship – are ever turning. Alpacas, it seems, are now oh so last season, and this year people with acres of lawn to keep trim are turning to wallabies as an alternative.
Yes, you read that right: wallabies – the hoppy little marsupials from Down Under.
According to The Times, suppliers are reporting a surge in demand (please note that I resisted the temptation to say jump) from homeowners keen to keep the grass in check.
Back in the day, this was done by a team of gardeners, or a flock of sheep, but in these credit-crunched times gardeners are expensive, and sheep, well, let’s face it, they’re just a little bit common (and dumb with it).
Wallabies, on the other hand, are cheap, amusing and, apparently, very good with children.
They have the added advantage of making you look like a genuine English eccentric – “Old Binky … capital fellow, but absolutely bonkers. Pair of wallabies in his grounds, you know.”
Mind you, if you want to really make a statement, take inspiration from Dante Gabriel Rossetti who back in the day kept quite a menagerie in his garden: monkeys, armadillos, gazelles, peacocks, a kangaroo, a wombat, and a large black bull.
Now that wallabies are de rigeur, I’m sure Kensington & Chelsea council would look sympathetically on a recreation of that particular project.