Saturday, 2 February 2013

Mind the Gap!

As Chico Marx once memorably said: 'There ain't no sanity clause' (Duck Soup). There ain't no sanity line either. Or if there is, I now seem to have well and truly crossed it. 

It all started, so very innocently, last week Wednesday after lunch ...

I was leafleting the neighbourhood because the local council, who are so damn twisty you could upend them and use them to open wine bottles, have sneaked in a planning app for an 'access road' across our playing field, without waiting for the decision on the Town Green to be made. This is so that they can claim it was there all the time, and hey, even if it wasn't, they may as well use it now it is to service the development they are scheming to inflict upon us. 

Picture me therefore, in the cold and the snow and the ice (just building my part here), trudging the mean streets when whom should I meet but Bill the Builder.* So I stopped and we had a chat about things, and I said I was pretty sure there was an alternative route for the maintenance vehicles to get onto the field, which is what the council is claiming there isn't, which is why they have to build an access road, but I wasn't sure the road I had my eye on was wide enough at the end, where it narrows into an alleyway. And Bill the Builder said 'Carol, I'm sure you could get a 7 ft transit through that alley, and that's what the council ground staff use.'

Then I asked: 'What's a 7 ft transit?' And he gestured towards his builder's van and said, 'One like that.' And then I said, 'Really?' and he nodded, and I said, and I don't remember saying it but I must've because of what happened next, 'Can I borrow your van and see if it fits?' and he handed me the keys.

And the next minute, elderly white van woman was heading up the road towards the field. Arriving at my destination, I lined the van up with the alleyway and eased it down as far as the bollards at the end. Fitted a treat, with 6 inches to spare either side. Mission accomplished. Now all I had to do was back it out and return it to its rightful owner.

Which was when the not-properly-thought-out plan began to fall 
apart, because I had not factored in the effect of compacted snow and ice. The engine revved, the wheels spun, but the van wouldn't move. Every time I tried to back it out, it careened gently sideways. In the end, I just turned off the engine and sat staring out at the white wastes before me. I'd forgotten to bring my mobile, of course. Sic transit ....

But it transpires that there is a deity that looks out for lunatics. Unbeknown to me, three Lithuanian builders were working on a house in the road and had been watching my struggles from the scaffolding. Now they climbed down, and uttering the three finest  words in the (broken) English language: 'Ve haff rope,' they proceeded to dig away the compacted snow from behind my wheels. Then they lined up their own van, attached the rope between us and hauled me slowly out of the gap, cheering as the transit gained terra firma once more.

So have I told the local council that there is a better, cheaper alternative to their sneaky plan, that would only involve removing 2 bollards? I have. And have they listened? Oh please, come on ... you know the saying: rats always leave a sinking ship ? Round here where I live, the rats are in charge of it. Happy days.


*Name changed to protect his identity.



36 comments:

  1. Ooooh, feel the width of this post! Laughing through the snow, in a seven-foot transit van... Tralalalala... etc.

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  2. Oh what a laugh you have given me this morning Carol, I coukd see it all played out as a film,in fact they should make a film of the fight for your green space. I so hope you win, every community should have a Carol Hedges.

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    1. Thanks Anne. I think it's the red hair that makes us like this - do you think?

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  3. So when are you going to turn your hand to humour in book form, Ms H? You are a natural for the Absurd Club of which I am honorary secretary. Great post and I can imagine myself doing just the same!

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  4. People, I laugh because if I didn't, I'd cry!!! And I got frostbite as a result of all this!! May sue the council!!

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  5. Oh Carol, only you would try to drive a transit van down an alley - but it makes a great story!

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  6. It was Chico Marx that said...."there aint a no Sanity Clause" (has to be said in an Italian/A|merican accent. ;oP love Ralph x

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    1. Yes. I got it wrong, OK. Now changed it. Happy? (Soddin' dog)

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    2. I would be happy...if it wasn't for the fact the quote is from 'A Night At The Opera' not 'Duck Soup'

      http://youtu.be/KS2khYJZKwA Love Ralph x'

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    3. Am contemplating coming round and personally ripping up your broadband. Before confiscating your bonios.

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  7. This is hilarious, loved it!!!!! Love in particular the corkscrew analogy, and the 'must have said it because of what happened next' bit...!

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  8. This is even funnier now than it was when it was first as funny as it was!!!..I particularly 'guffawed' at the notion of 'a deity that looks out for lunatics' 'cos that being the case...they must be stalking you!!...( and I say that with much love..hahaha! ) Thank you for filling me with cheer once again...oh and ...any chance you can sort BT out ref my Broadband prob?????....:D

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    1. I am soo glad you manged to read it!! Seeing as I only wrote it at your behest!! Get Ralph to sit on the roof holding a couple of wires. Should sort it!

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  9. Aha! So now I understand those manic tweets from last week. One thing I will ask though - could you p,ease repeat the activity so we can all come and WATCH!! And I do hope the Council listens. In my experience they wear earplugs!

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    1. Hahaha - it was doing this that got me frostbite, sadly!

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  10. Carol, you tell a funny tale. I enjoyed your smuggery/discomfort immensely. But I love you anyway. :). Oh, and sorry about the frostbite! ... one small, unimportant correction. Chico Marx said "There ain't no Sanity Clause". Harpo never spoke.

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    1. Thanks Hap - don't know why I got the wrong Marx Bro!! Old age..

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  11. Carol, I love that you are the type to laugh to avoid crying. I'm the same way. It's better on the sanity to laugh over things.

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  12. A truly great story, including of course the happy ending. You should be a writer! (Oh, but wait: you are one. It figures.)

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  13. These Lithuanians know a thing or two about cars and snow :) Great blog as usual, I felt a little guilty about having a chuckle though (sorry). As for your council - they make me angry and I don't even know who they are!

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    1. Please feel free to amuse yourself at my expense! Hahaha.

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  14. Sooo glad those Lithuanians were there! Imagine, otherwise you might *still* be sitting there in that van... And good on you for fighting the Council - hope it all turns out well in the end.

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  15. You go girl! You are definitely a force to be reckoned with ;D

    Loved this post! Really made me laugh. Laughs aside though, good on you! Blasted Councils!

    Kate

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    1. Ladies, my life is an open book and a constant source of wonder! Not only to you, believe me..

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  16. Yep I can see trouble ahead....go go go and don't let them grind you down.

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  17. All I ask is a Tall Tale and a Star to recount it by the by...

    Nice one, Carol.

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  18. Wonderful post, Carol - I keep expecting to see Wanted posters round here, with your face on them!

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    1. hahahaha. Thanks Philip. Very poetic. Juliet: have you been into the Town Hall recently?

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  19. So this builder guy...he's the lunatic giving you his keys. What was he thinking! Great post Carol, as always. (AND 31 comments, man how do I get that kinda action on my blog. I guess I'll write about ordinances.)

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    1. You write about stupid stuff!!! And you need fish!

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  20. Good for you! Well, not the getting stuck part, but still! Rats leading boats seems to be a world-wide problem. Oh, where is the Pied Piper when one needs him?
    Enjoyed your post!

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    1. This is the latest in a long-running saga Mr T. Thanks for stopping by.

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  21. Haw, haw. What a hoot! Carol they're proposing to turn a very leafy, very narrow lane into a bus lane here in Droitwich. Can I hire you to test whether the bus fits? Love it! Well done, warrior woman! :) xx

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