- Twelve drummers drumming: but I turned them away at the door – hasn’t she heard of offences under s4 Noise Act 1996 after a warning from the local authority?
- Eleven pipers piping: didn’t she learn anything from the 12 drummers incident? The bagpipers soon made themselves scarce when I cited the Big Book of British Laws to the effect that it is still legal to shoot Scotsmen with a bow and arrow in York (except on Sundays).
- Ten lords a-leaping: possibly in anger as a result of the House of Lords having been replaced by the Supreme Court as the ultimate appellate court of the UK but more likely they are trying to avoid their expenses being investigated and I am not risking guilt by association.
- Nine ladies dancing: no thanks – it sounds suspiciously like a licensable activity under section 1(1)(1)(c) Licensing Act 2003 to me.
- Eight maids a-milking: why on earth would she think that my house was geared up to comply with the EC 852/2004 Hygiene of Foodstuffs Production Regulations?
- Seven swans a-swimming: did she really expect me to accept them when it was illegal for her to take the swans in the first place under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981?
- Six geese a-laying: – birds are clearly not her strong point. It is of course an offence to disturb any wild birds whilst near their nests containing eggs under s1 of the 1981 Act.
- Five gold rings: I know I’ve already been a little ungrateful but a gift of five rings is a little suspicious. One is customary. I can’t help thinking that they may belong to the Crown under the Treasure Act 1996 or, given her track record for illegality, I could be handling stolen goods under s22 Theft Act 1968.
- Four calling birds: I hardly need mention that door to door saleswomen need a Pedlar’s Certificate under the Pedlars Act 1871.
- Three French hens: surely she must know that I’m not a member of the Poultry Health Scheme and that my house has not been inspected by DEFRA under Directive 90/539/EEC (as amended).
- Two turtle doves: I really do appreciate the sentiment but, in case the billing and cooing stops, I’ll just ask her to sign this little 83 page Pre-nup under Radmacher v Granatino (2010)
- And a partridge in a pear tree: See 3 and 6 above, but at least she has delivered it in time for me to enjoy a little Christmas sport, given that partridge shooting is allowed between 1 September and 1 February in every year under section 3 Game Act 1831.
However, given her propensity for breaking the law, I tend to think that the latter was by good luck rather than good management and so, as a lawyer, I will have to give some serious consideration as to where this relationship is going in the New Year.
David Grice (Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, York)
Rider: No warranty as to current law or otherwise is intended or implied, readers to rely on own searches and enquiries. Any similarity to any person living or dead is not intended and is purely coincidental. No animals were hurt in this production.