Thursday, 11 September 2014
I see the Queen will stay out of the Scottish debate, what with being above politics and all that.
Like many Londoners, I'm used to seeing the Queen being driven around for state occasions, in fancy looking Rollers or even fancier horse drawn carriages.
It contrasts with a different royal experience when in rashbre north, which is along the road from Balmoral on Royal Deeside. Quite a few of the local shops in Ballater have royal crests over their doors, as the household pops out for flowers, groceries and the other day-to-day essentials of castle living.
And instead of being driven about, Her Majesty might be behind the wheel of a vehicle tailored for the Scottish terrain.
We accidentally followed her along a road once. It was the backroad to Balmoral, on the south side of the Dee. That's where I found out about the stunt squirrels.
The royal Land Rover pulled on to the road ahead of us and made off briskly in the direction of Balmoral. We were following at a conservative distance, and losing ground to the vehicle in front.
Then, suddenly, the stunt squirrels appeared.
Red squirrels of course, they dived across the road in front of us. We had to stop and in that fleeting moment the Land Rover was able to twist around the next corner and out of sight, never to be seen again.
We haven't worked out whether the squirrels are kept in special chutes, or perhaps pop up from silos, but they certainly do the trick to encourage a decent distance and suitable escape for the royal vehicle.