19. King Canoe. His doom is deemed.

What shall we do with the big fat wobbler?

Walking back from Oliver’s Mount to the DIY store, most of the Nosepipe army stopped off at The Mere cafe for a cup of tea and an ice cream, but Tracy and King Nicky Tams kept walking, discussing what to do about King Canoe. They also had a chat about Nicky Tams’s coronation as King Nicky Tams I of Ang Gonnasec and CCLVI of Nosepipe.

Tracy wanted the big expensive coronation in York Minster. No, absolutely not, out of the question, said King Nicky Tams as he firmly put down the Royal Foot. He wanted a quiet affair in St Mary’s Parish Church, here in his new second capital city of Scarborough. So, they decided on York Minster, and now they only had to agree on the doom, or fate, of King Canoe.

“I deem it meet that his doom should be….the block!” said Tracy, who had obviously seen the same old black and white films as Macdonald.


“What?” asked Nicky Tams. “Meat? Block?” He felt a bit queazy, to be honest, what with the battle and everything and now all this dooming and deeming.

“The traitorous King Canoe shall meet his doom, I deem, on yonder hill, whereat we shall build a scaffold high, an’ it please you, my liege,” declared Tracy, striking a dramatic pose.

Nicky Tams thought that the excitement of the battle had gone to Tracy’s head. They should have stopped at The Mere for a cup of tea and relaxed. Instead, here she was, all wound up, sounding exactly like the time they’d read part of a Shakespeare play in class at Nosepipe County Primary.

When the coronation was over, thought King Nicky Tams, he would slip back there and play Short Tennis again. He didn’t want to change schools just now. Maybe he could appoint Tracy as Princess Regent and she could stay here and have all the bother of ruling the Empire.

“I know,” said Nicky Tams, suddenly decisive and, for a senior government figure, amazingly honest. “King Canoe is no traitor. He didn’t make anything happen. It all happened to him. So, we’ll put him on the island in Peasholm Park. We’ll take the bridges down so he can’t escape, and certain special people can visit him each day in rowing boats to take his food orders, collect his washing and so on. How about that?”

When they got back to the DIY store they asked Canoe which he preferred, the island in Peasholm Park idea, or the scaffold-high idea, so there was no problem there. Canoe thought with relish of those people bringing him all his favourite dishes.

He could have Lasagne for breakfast; Haddock, Chips and Mushy Peas (with tea and a slice) for lunch; and Sweet and Sour Pork with Special Fried Rice for supper. Brilliant. And next day he could have American Hot Pizza, half a dozen assorted Waffles, and…should he have Southern Fried Chicken, Cole Slaw and Chips, or Steak Pie, Chips, Peas and Gravy?

What a perfect life, thought Canoe, with nothing at all to do, ever, except choose what to eat. With a wobble and a flob, he said goodbye to his conquerers and allowed himself to be conveyed to Peasholm Park in the back of a passing bread van.

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