Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Dutchy Originals
David Simmonds

We all know that the County is looking for a new economic development strategy now that the author of the “creative rural economy” approach has been shooed out of town. What we didn’t know, until now, is exactly how close the County is to executing an audacious new strategy. 

The project has been shrouded in complete secrecy - as one source said, “I’d get my head chopped off if I went on the record,” but The Times has been able to piece together its essential elements.

Let’s start with the Royal Wedding. Prince William is now the popular choice to succeed his grandmother. It is widely accepted that his father Prince Charles does not want to live in his son’s shadow. We believe his legacy will not be that of a king, but that of a successful, environmentally responsible businessperson.  

His business, Duchy Originals, markets organic food, produced sustainably. It has several product lines, including biscuits and snacks, drinks, soups, chocolate, garden seeds and herbal tinctures.  

The business has had some wobbly times, because it is selling a premium product to a niche market. What could be a more logical next step than to broaden the product base by securing a foothold in the North American market? 

What is a better way to improve business and get out from under William than a move to Canada? What better place to move than Prince Edward County. Founded by proud loyalists, the County is full of royal nomenclature and awaiting pageantry.

More makes it a fit. There are some glaring gaps in the Duchy Originals line-up. Example one, there’s no mushroom soup product. They offer chicken, spinach, beet, tomato and carrot, but not a shiitake or chanterelle in sight. Answer: Your Royal Highness, please let us show you the Wellington mushroom plant. Example two, there's no maple product. They have chutneys, marmalades, mustards; and plum, blackcurrant, lemon, raspberry and strawberry jams. Yes, to paraphrase an old song, they have no maple syrup. Answer: Chuck, you’re going to love Maple in the County.  

The Prince is said to be most intrigued by an article he read somewhere about the closure of the last commercial cherry orchard in the County. What a legacy, to restore a lynchpin of the County’s agricultural economy. We checked; Duchy Originals doesn’t do cherries, yet.  

Now ask yourself: why was an OPP SWAT team in Wellington a couple of weeks ago, jumping out from behind planters, chasing after cars and warning away the criminal element by issuing traffic tickets hither and yon? The only possible answer: they were clearing the area for the Prince’s advance team.  

The proposal to induce Prince Charles to set up a Duchy Originals operation in the County, a ‘shoot for the moon’ economic development strategy, may already be in play. The benefits for the County would be enormous. The prince and his retinue would require carriage repair people, grocers, knaves, nannies and jesters. The press would descend on the County. Tourists would come just to gawk at royalty. The horsey set would show up. And perhaps a class of ‘young men and women of means without the need for employment,’ essentially, your modern day Bertie Woosters, would enter the scene, requiring contemporary local Jeeves’s to rescue them from all manner of scrapes. 

As a mark of respect, the County is prepared to rename itself “The Duchy of the County of Prince Edward.” If the royal couple moves here, it will also rename Sophiasburgh ward, “Camillasburgh,” in honour of the Duchess of Cornwall.  

Will the lifestyle suit them? Well, surprisingly, that checks off too. Wellington has patently British connections. Tara Hall is up for sale; it would make a nice royal cottage. There is a farm property for sale on County Road 27 with a16-stall horse barn and riding arena, formal dining room and new furnace. If the Prince needed a polo playing field, the soccer field at C.M.L. Snider School easily converts; the school could close down and become a clubhouse. For entertainment, Charles and Camilla would have access to the Wellington Legion, where his ceremonial attire would be a big hit; and of course to the Dukedome, where he would be welcome to drop the puck and take a reserved seat immediately behind the penalty box. He would enjoy walking the Millennium Trail and the Wellington Beach; and she could no doubt find a bridge club to join. Both would enjoy our plenitude of parades. Overall, the glove fits the royal hand.

So keep your eyes open. If you see mayor Peter Mertens practising his curtseying and bowing, you’ll know the game is afoot. The County will be poised to ride another wave of success, this time on mushrooms, maple, cherries and royalty.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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