I feel for Kate... I have " ' been left a little exposed by sneaky snaps, too '.
IHAVE been forced to contact my solicitor following the publication of embarrassing, topless pictures in our parish magazine.
It is a step taken with deep regret.
It was not an easy decision. My brief, who specialises in poultry legislation, scanned the bleary image of Yours Truly in just a hula skirt, then smirked: "That old bird would provide one bad Sunday roast dinner."
I rest my case. "Having viewed this seedy, out-of-focus snap, which was never intended for public consumption," I told the freshfaced lawyer, "your opinion of me has lowered."
He creased his brow in a show of bewilderment and mumbled: "Not really, Mr Lockley. I've never looked on you as someone who would provide a succulent Sunday roast."
He shuffled the papers on his polished desk, wiped the smirk from his face and announced: "It is a clear breach of your privacy and I will leave no stone unturned in my quest to ensure this salacious image is not viewed by a wider audience."
"By the way," he asked, leaning forward, "I couldn't take 20 photocopies, could I? Can't wait to show them to my wife and mates at the squash club. Are you OK if I tinker with Photoshop - maybe superimpose Sam Fox's breasts?" I glowered at the legal eagle.
Cockerel "This has distinct echoes," he added, "of a case I successfully pursued for a local farmer.
Trade magazine Poultry News pictured his prize cockerel in a less than flattering light, thus restricting its use as a stud bird and, therefore, its market value. The two cases are near identical."
"Except," I pointed out helpfully, "I'm not a cockerel and there are no plans to put me into stud."
After an awkward silence, the solicitor shrugged. "I'll give you that," he smiled.
The one, grainy image was snapped at a fancy dress party for family members, an event I believed to be free from press intrusion.
Thank God I didn't wear the nun's outfit.
It appeared on the parish magazine's 'People and Places' page, next to a line of smiling faces snapped at the Young Conservatives' cheese and wine evening, under the headline: "Hawaii Five Oh What A Plonker".
The editor has described the words as 'harmless banter'. "Like in-breed and mentaloid," he explained. To date I have removed 16 photocopies of the disturbing image from lampposts in our parish. Thirteen were erected by my own son. Some wag had scrawled an arrow on one, pointing to the grass skirt. Underneath, in Biro, was the cruel caption: "There's never a bloody lawnmower when you need one."
"Mr Lockley," huffed the clearly uncomfortable editor, "if we believed for one moment you had a reputation to damage, we would not have printed this picture."
I fixed the hack with a steely glance. "In any case," he quickly added, "we believe this is a beautiful photograph, showing a man enjoying quality time with his family, and not offensive in any way. We thought long and hard..."
"About running it?" I asked. "No, about doing something digitally with your rather pendulous man-boobs."
"Pendulous man-boobs!" I snapped.
"But we decided our readers should see you in all your glory - pendulous man-boobs, beer belly, rash and all. Besides, the caption competition has proved incredibly popular."
I blew my cheeks out in a show of exasperation.
"This is my favourite," he winked, placing a cutting on the table. A speech bubble had been drawn on the sagging left breast, with the slogan: "If we don't get some support, they're going to think we're nuts."
I examined the entry before slinging it down in disgust. "It's from my bloody wife," I bellowed.
"Well, it looks like first prize - a hamper of Mrs Timmins' home-made preserves and pickles - will be heading in her direction," the editor beamed. "Every cloud...."
I pointed at the newshound. "This is the work of an unscrupulous, immoral individual hell-bent on destroying me."
"Spot on," he nodded. "It was your wife."
"I am a laughing stock," I winced over a frothing pint in the Drum and Monkey snug. "I don't think I've ever been so embarrassed."
"I'm not having that," cajoled Colin, my drinking companion. "There was that time you urinated at the bus shelter and the cub scouts marched past."
"Where will it end?" I whimpered, staring into my pint pot.
"No-one thinks less of you," insisted Colin, placing an arm round my shoulder. He turned to Mine Host, polishing glasses behind the bar, and shouted: "What were your first thoughts when you saw the pictures?" The landlord chortled: "I thought his wife must've married him for his money."