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Donkin's World: A Palace For Duck Eggs

Richard Donkin comments with his customary wit and style on the MPs' expenses scandal.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

Of all the stories from two weeks of revelations in the MPs’ expenses scandal, the best of all has to be the duck house bought with mine, your's and other taxpayers’ money by Sir Peter Viggers, the Conservative MP for Gosport.

The duck house, in period style and set on its own floating duck island, cost £1,650 but Sir Peter's ducks never took to it and the house has been put in to storage. Now Ivor Ingall, the Farnham man who makes these sumptuous duck houses, has spoken out to reject any suggestion that his houses may be unsuitable for ducks.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph he says that “all the many houses I have sold have been regularly occupied by ducks.” The MP’s ducks, it seems, must have been particularly choosy.

Anyway, says Mr Ingall, these are not duck houses, but “bird pavilions,” intended as “architectural follies” for the garden.

The Viggers duck pavilion was built in the Swedish style but other designs are available, including a replica of Enniskillen Castle in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The makers, Heytesbury Bird Pavillions, also offer homes for other animals. There is a Palladian chicken house at £3,290, a neo-classical dovecote at £1,880 and a Queen Anne dog kennel at £2,232.

The duck house market is depressed at the moment, says Mr Ingall. Perhaps he should model one of his pavilions on the Palace of Westminster - no shortage of duck eggs there.


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