I was surprised to receive a letter from Buckingham Palace addressed to Peter Ducks informing me Her Majesty the Queen was delighted to bestow the MBE on me and could I pop along to the Palace on 3rd March to collect my award.
Modesty is my middle name , we seek no glory here, but a trip to the Palace, a brief chat with royalty and a luncheon which might well include a sausage roll or two was an invitation few men would decline.
I live modestly in north London and enjoy a life of discrete self-indulgence while living cautiously within my budget. However the Palace has saluted my passionate engagement with climate change and the cause of cleaning beaches throughout the globe. I’m not one to reject praise, justified or otherwise, so I signed the acceptance slip and prepared to go to the palace at the given time on the correct date. I possess a suit so I was more than ready for this grand adventure!
I’m a little surprised I’ve been singled out in this way but who am I to argue with the high and mighty. Obviously that time I picked up a lollipop wrapper dropped by some uncouth boy on Bournemouth beach was noticed by those in authority and recognition, as we know, always come to those who wait patiently in the right queue.
Come the day I arrive at the Palace and present my invitation to the man at the gate who is wearing a large fur hat and a red jacket with one or two medals pinned to the front. I saunter as modestly as possible towards the door he has pointed to where I am met by another posh gent but dressed in a very smart suit with tie to match who has clearly been to an exclusive collection of private schools.
He looks at me a bit uneasily but waves me through to where a third gentleman is moving through a throng of shortly to be awarded ladies and gents, ( no dogs allowed apparently.) Anyway a third gent comes up to me and asks if he can see my invitation which I show him. “Can you confirm your name please sir?” says he and I reply, Peter Wells.
“This invitation is addressed to Peter Ducks!” he says and his eyebrows seem to be doing something resembling the salsa across the bottom of his forehead. I understood and explained to him I wrote a blog called “Countingducks” and people sometimes referred to me as Mr Ducks or even Peter Ducks and I presumed the Queen’s office was doing the same thing. “Do you really think that’s likely” he replied and there was a faintly reddening quality to the skin around his shirt collar.
At that moment another man, who has clearly not been anywhere near a gym in recent months, comes and stares at me in a fairly aggressive manner and says, “My name is Peter Dufks, chief executive of Environmental Solutions Ltd and who are you sir?” As I’m trying to tell him I’m a writer of small repute, and with a few chums who frequent my local coffee shop each morning, another man, also dressed in an impressive uniform of red jacket and elongated fur hat suggests I leave the Palace.
“Quite understand, quite understand” I say and add, “Will there be a refund of my travel expenses: journeys on the Central line are not as cheap as they once were!?” I add as I’m invited, if that is the word,through a back entrance.
His look suggested otherwise!