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Her Majesty's playhouse

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Ian Martin wins the royal commission to design a second home for a princess

MONDAY Bank Holiday. Time to reset visual parameters and immerse myself in a continuing professional development module focusing on spatial geometry and applied physics by watching snooker all day.

TUESDAY Charles has asked me to design a toddler’s playhouse for his new granddaughter.

As it will be a couple of years before ickle Princess Elsa Khaleesi Charlotte Diana Elizabeth Camilla Saxe-Coburg Gotha McStuffins Barbara Windsor can have the keys to her first property, I’m expecting 24 months of arseache from the world’s most dithering and petulant client.

Here are some exploratory thoughts from ‘HR Heirbag’ scrawled in his unmistakeable spidery handwriting, as they arrived this morning in a series of faxes:

Something ‘Balmorally’ but (DRUM ROLL) emphasising the ‘moral’ at the heart of the whole thing, do you see? Sustainable, ecotastic to the max, ying tong iddle I po-Mo.

The ‘po-Mo’ thing just a joke by the way. Scottish Baronial style clearly more fitting for a Princess.

Nothing too grand in scale.  Though Baronial. One-fifth size Balmoral, would that work?

Might then commission some exquisite miniature tapestries, furniture and whatnot from local craftsmen – and women!

This ‘local’ issue.  Terribly important. If scale model of Balmoral, maybe actually IN grounds of Balmoral?  Then definitely contextual.

Also better for tax purposes, as owned by Mummy – NOT bloody subjects!          

V keen this project is seen to be zero-carbon.

Is it possible to go beyond zero-carbon? Sort of minus/reversible carbon?  Neg carbon? Neggy carbon? Neddy Seagoon? Lord, I miss the Goons so much. The world was a gentler and more deferential place then, before Modernism and the miners buggered it all up.

All materials and the entire construction process to leave the Earth as we found it except obviously plus a massive new playhouse.

If we DO decide to go with a Little Balmoral (I like this idea more every time I write it, hooray for the Union!) it should of course be granite.  

We cannot quarry new granite. I have literally just endorsed the Guardian’s Leave It In The Ground campaign.

Here’s a thought-tinkle. Perhaps the stone could be locally sourced via foreclosures in the vicinity of Balmoral? Have instructed the Steward-Lieutenant and team to be on the lookout for any useful evictions I might reluctantly authorise in the weeks to come.

A little water-filled moat is out of the question. Mentioned it to daughter-in-law, got full cat’s arse and a lecture on water safety.

Suggested filling it with those red ceramic thingies cf  Tower of London poppies: exaggerated eye-roll. Said OK, let’s just have a moat full of those soft balls little George has got filling his thatched playbarn but ALL BLOOD RED like the poppies and … she’s left the room! Honestly – ying tong iddle I women!

Be nice to have an entire model village, you know. Little working pub (soft drinks of course), miniature working bakery/laundry/blacksmith’s, maybe in due course a model estate. Model fells and mountains, is that mad? Little sea, a solar-powered lighthouse for the offshore windfarm…

Oh, nearly forgot.  Throne room in the playhouse, just to remind Certain People of how this whole business works.

WEDNESDAY My old developer friend Phil Cluster calls. Could I bourge-up this old art deco fire station he bought cheap in a municipal boot sale? Turn it into a hotel or something?

‘Or something’? Yeah, he says, council’s threatened to compulsorily buy it back unless I do something. It’s Grade II listed, need to show willing, to be honest I’d rather demolish and whack up some luxury flats. Still. Two grand OK?

A hotel sounds doable.

THURSDAY Initial sketches for a boutique hotel crafted from a former art deco fire station. Assuming it’ll be called Ladders, or  Turntables or Emergency Room Service or whatever.

FRIDAY  Whoa. Arson at the fire station. Gutted overnight. Now an unsafe structure. Phil Cluster, also gutted, tells the Evening Standard he’s shocked and disappointed – he was pushing forward with some exciting hotel plans.

The building might have been saved but for the chronic lack of fire stations, which have nearly all been sold to developers. Arson and irony, a tragic combination.

A courier arrives with two grand, a much more agreeable result.

SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist architectural bake-off. Latticed Cod Hamlet 3, Vegetarian Fauxho 2 after late penalty for aggregated pastiche.

SUNDAY Suspended Parliament of the Self, in the recliner.


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