Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Dodging, twitching and cadging a ride

VERY shortly I shall have to give evidence about my role as an accessory to an attempted murder.

As you might imagine, the intended victim was pretty hysterical... but then blackbirds are like that!

I’d been walking along Radipole Park Drive when I thought I’d go out on one of the wooden platforms sticking out into the lake and see what I could see.

But just as I began to step down on to the platform the aforementioned blackbird and several other feathered friends had a nervous breakdown, burst into alarm calls and threw themselves into a clump of brambles, and not a moment too soon.

Almost before I was aware it had happened a merlin, which had cunningly been using my body as cover to sneak up on a potential meal, flicked round me and shot down the boardwalk, just missing the terrified birds before climbing steeply, banking round and landing in a tree on the edge of Jubilee Sidings.

When I’d recovered my wits I went and had a close look at what is Britain’s smallest bird of prey. It was lovely, and totally focussed on a replacement meal it clearly thought was available from the nearby reedbeds. With skill like that it probably didn’t go hungry.

Like buses, you go ages without experiencing a bird incident and then several come along, the next being more light-hearted but barely a hundred metres away from the first.

I was at the railway station later when a gull came in and landed on the station’s security camera.

The camera continued to sweep back and forth across the outside car park and the gull, after a moment’s uncertainty, settled down to enjoy the ride and allowed itself to be turned first in one direction and then another. It was quite comical and I’ve certainly never seen anything like it before.

Wise words about general elections

IN my efforts to shine a little humour into the dark corners of the forthcoming general election I’ve found out that others have gone before me, whether they meant to or not.

"The English think they are free. They are free only during the election of members of parliament"  - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

'Win or lose, we go shopping after the election" - Imelda Marcos

"An election is coming: universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry" - George Elliot

"I’ll be glad to reply to or dodge your questions, depending on what I think will help our election most" - George H.W. Bush

"The sight of allegedly sophisticated politicians parroting complete tripe trivialises and demeans government and it has to be stopped. It’s played a significant part in public disillusionment with politics and has led to the absurd situation where more people vote for Strictly Come Dancing than voted in the general election" - John Major

"Sooner will a camel pass through a needle’s eye than a great man be 'discovered' by an election" - Adolf Hitler

"A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen" - Winston Churchill

"The problem with political jokes is that they get elected" - Anonymous

I hope that’s made you feel a bit better. Don’t forget to recycle those election leaflets.

Fix our appalling potholed roads

IF there was ever any doubt that local roads aren’t in particularly good repair then a simple trip into Weymouth provides teeth-rattling evidence of the problem.

Driving down Quibo Lane is like being on a rollercoaster, the surface of the road undulating because of the tree roots going underneath it. It has been repaired once but the problem seems to be coming back.

Drivers then turn on to Chickerell Road and again on to Abbotsbury Road which has been so badly dug up it is a joke. Drain covers have been damaged so much that one has already had to be repaired, causing problems itself because a bollard protecting the work forced traffic to drive around it into the face of oncoming traffic.

Finally, having survived that gauntlet of potholes and subsiding trenches, drivers go over Swannery Bridge and turn down Commercial Road, almost immediately reaching the worst hazard near pedestrian lights.

It seems to be where a trench, or an underground pipe or some road patching has subsided so much that the whole car lurches down and then up again when negotiating it.

Dorset County Council has been given extra cash to cope with road repairs caused by the previous wet winter. Perhaps they could spare a few workmen and a couple of barrow loads of tarmac to deal with this.

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