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April 2006 -Short Mothers' DayI've often wondered why the posh people have always insisted on calling it Mothering Sunday, then, as I was putting the clocks forward an hour and struggling over the title for this month's epic, it suddenly came to me.
The posh people are always so busy being, well, posh, that they never have the time to spend engaging in arguments over matters so pressing as the position of a humble apostrophe.
If they did have the time, they'd probably take up the whole of the first half of Lent trying to decide amongst themselves whether the day is dedicated to one, or more than one, mother.
And, posh people being posh people, the decision would probably come down in the singular, given that only one of anything is important to such folk.
As things are, however, they simply dedicate the day to "mothering", no doubt one of those wonderful verbs from the same stable which brought us gems like "parenting" and "texting".
I was reminded of all this during the month, by someone who dared to accuse me of that cardinal sin, apostrophe mispositioning. He was, of course, wrong. My apostrophe wasn't mispositioned at all; it's just that my "s" was missing.
I think he was simply trying to get his own back, after being trussed up in some zero tolerance, grammatical prison for a week or two.
Anyway, preamble accomplished, welcome along to this exciting edition of Nick Harvey's Comment for All Fools' Day. Or, perhaps that ought to be All Fool's Day?
Anyone got any idea how many fools it takes to change a light bulb? No, it's all right, madam, that's not another of those dreadful jokes from a couple of months back, it's just a play on apostrophe positioning in order to prove that I've not digressed too far from the plot, YET!
So, here we all are then, folks, wondering what exactly it was that Mother did to deserve only a twenty-three hour day, when everyone else seems to get a normal length one.
Why do we continually fiddle about, putting the clocks backwards and forwards in any case? What on earth's the matter with just leaving everything well alone and not subjecting ourselves to this mild attack of jet lag every spring and autumn?
We've all been waking up late for the last week, haven't we? No, of course we haven't! Our body clocks have been waking us up at precisely the correct time; it's just that we've messed around with that mechanical or electronic device by the side of the bed, so we THINK we're an hour late every morning.
In the autumn, when we put the clocks back again, we spend the whole of the first week feeling hungry, don't we? That's because our poor old body clock's convinced that all the meals are arriving an hour later than it's used to.
That's not to mention that other autumnal problem which regularly besets myself and a few others born at the end of October, the long birthday.
I mean, it's bad enough getting all depressed about being a year older in any case, without the process being extended from a reasonable twenty-four, to an extortionate twenty-five hours every few years.
No, sorry, if you ask me, though I have this funny feeling, madam, that you're not going to, all this clock shifting business ought to be abolished. It's a complete waste of time.
Leave them permanently forward or leave them permanently back, I care not which, really, but for goodness sake, just leave them well alone.
Now then, what was it I'd been intending to discuss with you this month, before I realised I'd got to rush my keyboard bashing because the powers-that-be had surreptitiously shaved an hour off my Comment writing time allocation?
I'm sure it had nothing whatsoever to do with any day dedicated to maternal parents of any description whatsoever.
You see, the original intention for this month's in depth analysis under the, now famous, Nick Harvey, Acme microscope, was to be the telephone, or rather, the lack of such an item, and how to solve that complex problem.
I was wandering the web and came across the site of a major telecommunications supplier to the British people, the other day.
Over the years, I've had various dealings with this particular company for one reason or another, and have normally found their staff to be in possession of quite a tolerable level of intelligence.
I was, therefore, somewhat taken aback to discover the complete absence of all logical thought on one particular page of their web site.
They are in mid-flow, merrily extolling the virtues of making all your telephone calls over their most wonderful network, when they suddenly prove that you ought NOT to give them any business whatsoever, because they obviously haven't got two corporate braincells to rub together.
They suggest you ring them on 0808 100 7722.
Okay, madam, I can tell you're thinking that there's not a lot wrong with that. What's this Nick Harvey idiot moaning on about this time round?
They suggest you ring them on 0808 100 7722 if you HAVEN'T got a telephone!
Now, I don't know about you, but I found it just a tad difficult to cycle up to town the other day. It was mainly because I don't actually own a bike. I also tend to find it slightly difficult to ski down mountains, probably because I don't possess any skis.
If I ever really had this absolute urge to cycle up a mountain and then ski down the other side, I'd probably summon up enough intelligence to borrow, hire or otherwise acquire a bicycle and a set of skis for the occasion.
So is it really beyond the realms of possibility for this well-known, British, telecommunications company to actually suggest on their web page that you might consider ringing 0808 100 7722 after borrowing somebody else's phone, or, possibly, by utilising one of their, apparently wonderful, public telephone boxes?
It is at this point in the proceedings that a far nastier person than I, might suggest ringing them frequently on their free to the caller but charged to the recipient number, 0808 100 7722, to keep reminding them exactly how stupid the idea on their web site really is.
As I say, a far nastier person than I might suggest such a terrible thing, but never me, myself, ever, of course. Nick Harvey couldn't possibly condone such activities under any circumstances.
But, anyway, at the risk of upsetting the lady in the beige twin-set, in the third row, I digress.
You see, I WAS intending to talk about rather silly suggestions, on rather silly web sites, from rather silly telecommunications companies this month, but then I decided against the idea.
I was, therefore, left without any substantial subject for this month's epistle, that is, until that moment, as aforementioned, when I was adjusting my timekeeping apparatus for the forthcoming summer season.
I suddenly realised that we were having this short Mothers' Day and then found myself musing on whether, when used as a written title, that would convey the impression to you, dear viewers, of a fairly ordinary day dedicated to vertically challenged maternal persons, or a chronologically challenged sort of day dedicated to fairly ordinary maternal persons.
I'm not at all certain that I've even worked out the answer to that one for myself, as yet. How about you? What was your initial understanding upon reading the upper portion of this month's page?
Answers, please, on the back of a five pound note, to the usual address!
Well, I suppose after all this twaddle, I'd better start thinking up a good title for the next one now. That'll be the May Day edition. I'm sure I'll come up with something suitable in a month.
You'll be along on time, won't you? The first of May, bright and early. That's about it for this month, then. I seem to have managed to get about an hour late to make a very important call. Right, I'm off, where's me dog and bone?
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