Across Continents

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Troublesome bunnies and reluctant pussies

Hectic few weeks, but, amidst much feverish activity, a few things have especially caught my eye, the temptation to share them with others becoming irresistible. Besides, if David Cameron could proffer an Easter Message, surely I could, no longer the sole preserve of the Pope. It’d not be without risk, as I’d discovered a few days ago when I’d shared my thoughts on that most controversial of subjects, the Radio 4 Shipping Forecast.

Simply asking who actually listens to the Shipping Forecast these days? I mean, at 5.20am. Five twenty. AM. Washed up on the shore by the steady flow of technology perhaps. You’d be forgiven for thinking there’d still be a following amongst the smaller fishing communities but they’ve mostly disappeared now. Left with the odd yachtie I’d suggested? Quite a few in seemed, judging from the robust rebuttal I’d quickly received. Obliged to promise I’d be off shortly to the cake shop. Special order. Humble pie with lashings of cream.

Various four legged friends have also been in the news. Apparently cats can survive falling up to forty storeys – I say apparently because most cats are reluctant to participate in proper scientific study, say researchers. Boring. But now the story’s out, so to speak, look out for budding “copycat” scientists. Or rather their pets, especially if you live in a high rise. Could be worse. Same report mentions horses… Whilst, on another continent, some say the law is an…. Well, you know, bit like a donkey. Or your posterior. But not in Libya. Camels. As the son of the former Dictator has discovered, charged, so far at least, not with heinous crimes against his fellow citizens, but for possession of a few of our dromedary friends without a license. What next? Bringing the Police to book for shooting an innocent man using ‘ealth and Safety laws? Surely not…

And such a fine example of the law of unintended consequences is ‘ealth and Safety. Who, after all, could have foreseen it becoming so much a part of the fabric of British society? Intertwined into our daily lives, its tentacles spreading ever wider. It’d been a line of cars and vans snaking around a roundabout, a lengthy queue for petrol, that’d been such a sharp reminder. Self-perpetuating drama, for there was no fuel strike, nor one planned. And the underlying tanker drivers’ dispute? Not exactly clear, but ‘ealth & Safety concerns are in there somewhere. Which probably translates into more cash. But before anyone cites the supposed dangerous nature of their work, first take heed of what I consider a truly hazardous occupation. That’d be tackling improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, below which everything else really pales into insignificance.

Reassuring news next, a warming glimmer of hope. Denmark isn’t full of serial killers. Political intrigue maybe but not mass murderers. I’d Sandi Tosvik to thank for this insight. Responding to a question from a fellow member of in the audience at the Royal Geographical Society recently, enquiring as to how well did the recent spate of Danish TV dramas, The Killing amongst others, airing on the BBC reflect life in Legoland? Sorry, I made that very last bit up. Denmark. No such thing as a stupid question…

But for real twists and turns, I’d my own village, galvanised of late by prospects for resurrecting our pub that’s been closed now for a couple of years. Public meetings with pretty much every house represented. I’d sent my apologies. Talk of communal buy-outs, internet cafes, of tax efficient investment vehicles. Laudable stuff, even if secretly the only thing I thought might stack up were the pizzas. Our very own soap opera, but a bit too racy for Ambridge, especially with the arrival of the Easter Bunny. A dubious e-card purportedly from the vacant establishment’s present owner. Hugh Heffner would be proud.


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