Subscribers to the online sales catalogue of Fine Auctioneers and Valuers Sotherbones were surprised to see listed amongst items for a forthcoming sale an extremely rare Druid Stick said to be "the property of a gentleman". The phrase - which is well-known to all in the antiques and auction trade - is usually a coded way of disguising the identity of the selling institution (usually an Oxbridge College).
Speaking for Southerbones, Deputy Director of Public Relations Carmelita Ded-Panne declined to be drawn on the provenance of the object, insisting that the Fine Auctioneers and Valuers "never break the confidence of our clients". However, those who have been following with interest the affairs of St Bland's College Cambridge and the heated matter of it's Druid Stick, have not been slow to "join up the dots".
"It looks to me as though they are trying to get rid of a little local problem through a spot of impromptu recycling", St Bland's Student Activism Officer Elspeth Righteous-Brothers offered, "and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if at the next audit a certain College treasure isn't found to be missing from the inventory", she said. Whilst deploring the sale per se ["Such objects should be returned to their rightful owners - especially something as deeply spiritual as a druid stick"] Ms Righteous-Brothers was nonetheless happy to see the College's Governing Body reacting quickly to the mounting criticism its continued curation of the venerable object was attracting. "That's a very good way of putting it - though I wouldn't have had the words to say that myself", the third year English graduate added. "I don't normally let complete strangers put things in my mouth - well not on first acquaintance - but those are very clever words and I am happy for you to oralise me on this occasion."