I know I killed my True Love in a fit of rage but I think, once you hear my tale, you will have to acknowledge that I was provoked beyond what any reasonable person could stand.
Things started off well. On the first day of Christmas, my True Love sent me a partridge in a pear tree. A little weird, I thought, but I let that pass. To be honest, as the first day of Christmas is Christmas Day, I’d have preferred a turkey.
On the second day he sent me two turtle doves. Romantic, because I believe they mate for life, so I could see the symbolism. But he also sent me another partridge in a pear tree. Why?
Next day it was three French hens (or should I say, trois French hens? My little joke, Judge. I still had a sense of humour at that point) – plus two more doves and another partridge in a pear tree.
On the fourth day I was afraid to open the door to the postman. I was right to be afraid: ten birds arrived that morning, four of which were colly birds. Is there anyone on the planet who knows what a colly bird is? I think my True Love made that one up, or he meant calling birds and the shop saw a chance to finally offload the 36 colly birds they had lying around in the storeroom which they had ordered by accident.
Probably guessing from my enraged texts and emails that by now I was a little miffed, he had the good sense to send me five gold rings on day five of Christmasgate. I was mollified enough to think it would be okay to accept day six’s gift. Boy, was I ever wrong! Six – count them: one-two-three-four-five-SIX – geese-a-laying. The eggs would have been acceptable but I couldn’t get near them. Do you know how protective geese are of their eggs? I still have the bill marks on my legs. And it’s not nice to be hissed at by 42 geese (yes, 42; because he sent me six more geese who wouldn’t share every day for the next six days); it’s like being in a really bad pantomime in the comfort of my own home, though there’s not much comfort with 184 birds running around, making a racket and pooping like there’s no tomorrow. Which there wasn’t for those I managed to store in my freezer… Not to mention the 42 goslings under my feet, imprinting on me. It made shopping impossible.
You did read that right, Judge: 184 birds is what my True Love sent to me. 226, if you count the babies.
But he saved the best for last, which I’ll call Day Seven, because it was. I may have been a little unhinged by this point. I refused to open the door so the delivery truck left my idiot boyfriend’s ridiculous idea of a love token in my tiny back garden: seven swans-a-swimming. Seven swans-a-swimming! You know what that means, don’t you? An inflatable pool! In my pocket garden! And not just one inflatable pool, oh no! SIX inflatable pools, because he sent me the same gift for the next five days, along with eight maids-a-milking, nine ladies dancing (I don’t even watch Strictly), ten lords-a-leaping (I’m interested in politics, yes, but not to the point of inviting the second chamber into my home – and the ornaments those old codgers broke…), eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming, right through my skull.
By the time I got the injunction against my True Love, it was too late – the neighbours had complained about the smell, the music played at full volume at all hours of the day and night, and the illegal poultry farm I had set up, and I was evicted by the council through the Anti-Social Behavioural law. I was homeless, penniless (I had spent all my money on bird seed and feeding my guests) and furious – mostly because all swans are owned by the Crown, so my True Love had scuppered the chance of me being on any future Honours List.
I admit to seeking out my True Love who, while big on romantic gestures, was a slacker when it came to paying for the upkeep of all those birds or feeding 140 people – though the poultry and the eighty buckets of milk did come in handy there, I’ll accept.
I also admit to pelting him with rock hard pears (they were out of season; what was the silly beggar thinking?) and, when that didn’t work, belting him with as many pipes, drums and drumsticks as I could lay my hands on. But the death stroke was, I’m convinced, administered by the swans, who didn’t like it when, weighed down by 40 gold rings, I fell into one of their pools and almost drowned.
So, dear Judge, I think you can see that I acted under extreme provocation while the balance of my mind was disturbed and my feet were in three tons of guano.
If you let me off, I will be free to marry one of the drummers, Bill, who has promised to give me only chocolates, toiletries and DVDs as Christmas presents.
I throw myself on the mercy of the court.
Signed, The Moulting Housewife