Typical, isn’t it? No sooner does one news story of weird animals threatening humanity get put to rest (last week, remember, it was mutant cannibal rats on a 21st-century Marie Celeste death ship) than another rears its ugly head.
Or to be absolutely precise, its scaly head. Because yes, gentle reader, a six-foot crocodile has been spotted sploshing around in the river Avon in Bristol.
It was first reported by a bus driver on Bedminster Bridge, which immediately raises two questions: (a) what was he on? and (b) where can we get some?
But that would be uncharitable, and the story must be true, because it’s been in all the papers, and the croc itself has not one but two Twitter accounts, and it’s been posting some fairly gruesome selfies all over the internet.
Indeed, no less a personage than Nick Gargan, chief constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, also took to Twitter (as you do) to advise his followers not to go water-skiing in the river.
Which could actually be a bit awkward, because over the last couple of weeks the Avon has become pretty much the only reliable route out of Bath. If the roads aren’t shut by design, for the fettlement of the sewage system or the installation of super-fast broadband, then it’s by accident.
Fallen branches, collapsed walls, rising tides and people driving the wrong way along motorways have all conspired to thwart any sort of escape from this fair city. Not that you’d necessarily want to leave, but if you did, it looks like the river is currently the only way out.
Or at least it was, until Chris the Crocodile came along and blocked the aquatic route too.
Help is at hand, though, in the shape of a press release cunningly disguised as junk email, received earlier this week at Chronicle Towers, promoting the benefits of a thing called the JetCard.
This “ultimate gift for the man or woman who has everything” (it says here) “buys world-class travel by private jet for time-strapped executives and HNWI’s who want a sense of private jet ownership without the costs and responsibilities.”
What’s a HNWI? Have Not (got the) Wildest Idea. But it sounds like a lot of fun. All you need is an airstrip and one of those cards, which comes in its own black box and is made of aviation-grade titanium, and you’re away.
But the real point of this spam (sorry, marketing communication) is to remind readers that Valentine’s Day is only just round the corner, and that if you’re the sort of HNWI who wants to surprise their significant other with a romantic gift on February 14, then prices start at a mere 4,320 Euros per hour of private flight.
For those of us who are more HMRO – Help (my) Money’s Running Out – than HNWI, the traditional Valentine’s Day profferings of chocolates, smellies and inexpensive pieces of jewellery will probably have to suffice.
Oops, that’s given the game away. If Mrs D was expecting a romantic river cruise with a bit of reptile-spotting at end of it, then she’s going to be sorely disappointed.