Presumably Boris Johnson was keen to give the impression that he has grasped the Brexit bull by the horns when he ventured into Aberdeenshire today.
Why else would he pose for pictures next to a muscular bull called Keene at Darnford Farm, Durris? The prime minister had clearly gambled the fearsome specimen would not mistake his blond mop for a red rag.
The photocall over, Mr Johnson managed to escape unscathed from Keene’s enclosure and moved to a shed full of waiting journalists. There he was questioned about the biggest gamble of all – his high risk strategy for leaving the EU with or without a deal on October 31st.
Having risen at the crack of dawn for the opening of the Peterhead Fish Market, the prime minister cut a figure of tired defiance. The stormy events of the past week in the House of Commons had taken their toll.
As he attempted to trumpet his £51.4million cash boost for Scottish farmers in an attempt to shore up vulnerable Tory seats in the north-east, questions came thick and fast on a myriad of Brexit-related problems. Yes, he would refuse to seek a Brexit extension even after Westminster passes a law compelling him to push back the deadline.
Throughout, Mr Johnson was adamant the UK must leave the EU by Halloween come what may.
What about the de-selection of prominent Tories and the behaviour of his controversial adviser Dominic Cummings?
His endorsement of his adviser sounded distinctly lukewarm when quizzed about Sir John Major’s call for the “political anarchist” to be sacked. “Advisers advise and ministers decide,” was how the prime minister put it.
With his plans for a snap election promising to decimate hard won Tory gains in the north-east and elsewhere in Scotland, Mr Johnson ruefully hoped that Ruth Davidson would make a come-back. Her departure for family reasons and over the approach he has taken to Brexit (what else?) has merely added to his problems. Denied the leadership of a Conservative figurehead capable of winning over voters from other parties, the prime minister renewed his attacks on the SNP and extolled the virtues of the Union.
With Brexiteers facing accusations of “chasing unicorns”, Mr Johnson then turned his attention to another mythical creature. In the most bizarre of the exchanges, Mr Brexit said he “yearned” to believe in the Loch Ness Monster. Reports that Nessie could be a giant eel did not convince him that she did not exist.
And with that declaration, he was gone. It was off to a meeting with local Tories before heading to Balmoral with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds. At her Deeside retreat last night, the Queen received the unmarried couple – yet another break with political tradition. What with Nessie, Brexit, a bull and Balmoral, these are unprecedented times.