Thursday, 3 May 2012
The joys of an English spring
YOU could almost have put money on it, couldn’t you, as a glorious March prompted hysterical warnings of drought.
Cracks in the lawn, the River Wey barely a trickle of its usual flow, people in shorts talking about the first barbecue of the season and those damn forecasters trilling about hosepipe bans. It was just tempting fate.
Of course, Fate loves a good laugh at our expense, so since then we have practically been battered flat by torrential downpours or longer periods of rain.
No cracks in the lawn now because it’s too soggy while all the wearers of shorts are being treated for pneumonia. Such are the delights of an English spring.
I only mention this by way of an introduction to an extraordinary sight I saw the other day on Dorchester Road when I met a bus while out driving in a downpour.
At least I think it was a bus because you don’t see too many buses with a bow wave!
My windscreen wipers were on maximum and speed was down to 20mph because conditions were dreadful, so I actually looked twice to make certain of what I was seeing.
Sure enough it was a bus with a bow wave, so much storm water flowing down the road that the bus was advancing like some stately pleasure cruiser, sending a large wave creaming away in a huge arc over the pavement.
The bus was OK but cars behind were in serious trouble from the backwash and floodwater flow which reduced their progress to a crawl.
So remember not to be too cocky in fine weather because “après moi, le deluge”!
They got motorbikes . . . we got biscuits!
BEACH cleans by their very nature are supposed to clean up beaches, but it isn’t until you go on one of these things that you realise just what a disgusting animal the human race is.
Take the Chesil Beach Centre for instance, a lovely site set beneath the great pebble wall of Chesil with a vista of the Fleet containing a large area of tidal mud flats rich in wildlife.
Yet volunteers slogging their way through underbrush, rocks and cloying beach collected together the sort of litter which made you question whether those who left it had any right at all to be called civilised.
For instance, is discarding an empty baked bean can complete with viciously sharp lid the best comment one person could make about this World Heritage site and, even if Weymouth and Portland are currently the toast of the world, do people really have to leave empty beer cans all over the place?
The answer apparently is, yes, along with a motley collection of other objects which has recently included televisions and even a small fridge.
Hard working reserve staff put a brave face on it and still keep picking up litter others should never have dropped in the first place.
So what keeps them going? Apparently it isn’t valuable objects washing up from wrecks.
One member of staff told me: “When the Napoli container ship ran aground down the coast there was a lot of valuable stuff washed ashore. Others got motorbikes . . . we got biscuits!”
GETTING woken up by the neighbours having passionate sex isn’t the quietest start to the day especially when they’re doing it on the roof.
Yes, the seagull mating season is in full swing and there is nothing householders can do about it.
Our lot felt that 5am was the ideal time to cement their raucous affection for each other which they did with a piercing volley of staccato calls which destroyed a rather nice dream I was having about a cellar full of wine that I seemed to own.
Losing the wine was bad enough but the harsh calls of the seagulls seemed to go on forever and to be coming from right over my head.
Have these birds no shame? Don’t female gulls ever give it a rest and plead a headache?
The worst of it is that gulls will never realise that their enthusiasm is impossible for some of us to live up to!
HE probably meant well but the man pouring out his heart at the bar of a pub clearly didn’t realise that the pensioner he was talking to wanted nothing to do with him.
Unfortunately the man talking about himself felt he’d somehow found a kindred soul who was genuinely interested in what he was saying, so he pressed on with his chatter.
Eventually he finished and, with a cheery wave, he wished his listener goodbye and strolled out of the door.
By now the pensioner had retreated deep into his newspaper but, with his tormentor gone, he emerged to take a well deserved mouthful of his pint and to field questions from onlookers.
They asked if he knew the man and the pensioner said, no, and they then asked what on earth the man had been talking so long about.
The pensioner replied: “I don’t know really because I’m half deaf in that ear and early on I’d switched my hearing aid off!”