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Saturday 24th April 2004

I left Loch Ness today, with a bag that may or may not have contained Nessie's severed head.
The hotel I was staying at was rather a family orientated place and I was the only person staying there alone and also the only one there without a small child.
At breakfast this morning I looked round all the other tables of kids and parents and wondered if I was missing out here, or whether I had in fact struck lucky.
Admittedly it was the morning time and I am sure I didn't look too chipper myself, but the drawn faces of the fathers around me suggested that there was at least a little part of them that would swap places with the strange, hairy fellow or was for some reason staying at the hotel alone and carrying a sword with him (I am amazed I haven't been arrested, though I do keep the sword hidden from view, except for when there is a photo opportunity or monster or large mammal to be dispatched. On Thursday at Castle Urquhart the guy selling the tickets said, "That's not a gun is it?"
"No, it's a sword," I replied.
He seemed satisfied with this and let me go on my way with my sword. As long as it wasn't a gun. Because that would be a strange thing to have and mark me out as a potential trouble-maker).
There was a faint air of the Village of the Damned about it all. And I was the only one who had escaped the horror.
But I think I probably envied them more and wondered if it is more than the sword that makes me strange. Other men my age have wives and families and I am still going through the phase where I am single and childless and want to kill the Loch Ness monster. It made me feel a bit silly.
Ah, there's time for all that once all the monsters and elves and pixies and those paper Edwardian fairies and one cow are all dead.
In ten months time, if all goes to the plan and you can trust the Scottish Sun, then I will have at least 50 kids (more if there are any twins or triplets amongst my brood) to look after.
Then we'll see how tired and drawn I look. And how much I envy those mums and dads at breakfast.

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