Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music, was cautioned over the discovery of the remains of a protected species at his house in Orkney.
He said the bird died after hitting a power line. When police called at his home he offered them swan terrine.
Sir Peter said he did not believe he had done anything wrong but, given his position with the Queen, he was prepared to spend time in the Tower of London.
Swans are protected under UK legislation. However, in the islands a Norse right called Udal Law is still assumed to hold sway, possibly making swans the property of the people…
“…They fall down dead and I’m afraid some people eat them. You take them home and you hang them for four days and then you take out the breast meat and the good leg meat, you give the rest to the cat and dispose of the rest.
“I didn’t realise the police had also taken some wings from previous swans which were hanging in the shed. I was going to give them to the school because they use them as Gabriel’s wings in the nativity play…”
“…I offered them coffee and asked them if they would like to try some swan terrine but I think they were rather horrified. That was a mistake, wasn’t it?”