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February 2006 - Whales Today

Now then, let it be said, right from the start, that I never had anything in particular against the bloomin' whale, in itself; it was just the amount of media exposure the damn thing got at the expense of the entire remainder of the universe.

It could even be said that I was very slightly upset when the thing finally croaked.  But, to put the whole thing in perspective, a whale is exceptionally similar to a bus, one might lie in the middle of the road with its wheels in the air, but, don't worry, there'll be another three along in a couple of minutes, so no need to be too downhearted.

It's just like the Eskimo Vera Lynn impressionist said to his wife when he got home from a day out fishing.  "Whale meat again!"  Not to mention the sign outside the chip shop in Caerphilly.   "Whale keep a welcome in the hillsides!"

Right, those couple of paragraphs ought to guarantee a huge fleet of Citroen 2CVs are parking outside Harvey Towers as we speak, disgorging their contents, numerous hairy members of the RSPCA, all wearing those awful, patterned jumpers more suitable on a group of nineteen seventies Open University presenters.

Actually, seeing as we were doing the jokes, how many Citroen 2CVs does it take to damage a tree?  Nobody knows, they haven't built enough 2CVs yet!

I rather like arguments with RSPCA members, as it happens.  I just send brown chap, leg at each corner, out to bark at them.  That way, both sides of the discussion are making equal amounts of sense.   In any case, faced with anything on four legs, and with a tail, they tend to capitulate without a murmur.

What is it about the people of this country which makes them think that the flamin' animals are FAR more important than the humans?

Whilst the RSPCA is ROYAL, the NSPCC, for children is only NATIONAL.  A little matter of completely the wrong set of priorities there, don't you think, madam?

And then there's still this little matter of the soddin' whale.  All I wanted to do was to watch the weather forecast, just to know what the afternoon was going to be like for a bit of shopping.  Not a flamin' chance!

Wall to wall coverage of nothing but a load of idiots trying to get a fish, well, okay pedants, a sea living mammal, out of the water and into a boat.  What could possibly have possessed them to think Mr Whale was the slightest bit interested in going on a cruise?

From all the helicopters which were flying overhead at the time, I began to wonder if it was one of those "fly-cruise" holidays that he was off on; you know the things, where you get flown out to somewhere in Greece or Turkey, then you get to cruise round the Med for a few weeks, then flown back home from somewhere in Spain.

Actually, one of the thousands of reporters who had been despatched to the banks of the Thames to witness all this foolishness on our behalf, did explain that they were moving Mr Whale on to the boat so he could have a blood test.

They were then going to send the blood sample along the river to some laboratory, and the results of the tests would come back in round about an hour.

Another little case of the priorities going for a ball of chalk, do we think, here, possibly?  Whenever I go up to the doctors for a blood test, I get told to come back in a fortnight for my results to be available.

Blood tests for people, a fortnight; blood tests for sea living mammals, about an hour.  Isn't it lovely to be a member of, what seems to be, the unimportant species on this planet?

Anyway, I did finally get out to do some shopping, you'll be overjoyed to know, I'm sure.  I had to get out before the end of the month, you see, before the expiry of my current credit card.

'Er indoors and I had received our nice, new credit cards through the post on whale day, from that bank that had better be nameless, but might just have connections with a rather dark horse.

The "principal cardholder", as you're now described, in order to make you feel ALMOST as important as a whale, now has to ring up, thankfully on a free telephone number, to get the new cards authorised, after they've dropped through the letterbox, but before you dare to use them.

You ring up, listen to all this total garbage about how your call might get recorded for staff training purposes, then you have to key in your entire card number; a VERY dangerous thing to do over an unencrypted phone line, wouldn't you say, madam?

The machine at the other end then asks you some other stupid questions like the number of letters in your mother's maiden name and the month and year of your birth.

You really would think this would be enough to make the silly machine happy, but no.  Not satisfied with all this, you then get put in a queue to actually talk to a real human being.   This is the point where you become extremely pleased that you're not paying for the telephone call, as the queue involves listening to six hundred and fifty movements of some never-ending, unfinished symphony.

They might just as well have put me through to Mr Whale, though, because I eventually ended up with some bloke from the sub-continent, who hardly spoke a word of English, and, after I'd had to say "pardon" about five times, I finally managed to just about understand that he was asking for "de full name embossed upon de card".

Once I'd got past this hurdle, he rather foolishly told me that during the time it would take for the cards to be authorised, he was going to tell me all about "a number of special offers which are currently available from your bank".

At this point, I think I might have lost my temper!

Having sworn VERY loudly at him and told him that I was not in the slightest bit interested in his (expletive deleted) commercials, I'd simply rung up to get my cards authorised, he then decided to rant on at me about how to use chip and pin, something which I've only been successfully using, now, for the best part of twelve months.

He eventually decided to tell me that the authorisation had been successful, but then had to remind me that the new cards wouldn't be useable until the "de first of next mont", yet "you must sign dem NOW for security purposes"; and how you must "cut de old cards into two SEPARATE halves on de first of next mont and den throw dem away".

Quite how anyone is supposed to cut something into two UNITED halves is beyond me, but let's not worry about that little technicality for the moment, eh?

When I finally got off the phone from the banker, I was almost pleased to go back to the rolling coverage of them rolling a cover over Mr Whale before the cortege moved off down the river.

So, anyway, folks, you all DID read the disclaimer on the "About Nick Harvey's Comment" page before coming here, didn't you?  You didn't?  Ah, you must be one of the angry ones at the moment, then.

It does explain all about political incorrectness and what to do if you take me seriously, so you really ought to have read it, you know.

Welcome along to February's edition of Comment, by the way.  I would have said that a bit earlier, but I was much too busy winding up all the sea living mammal lovers and defenders of the linguistically challenged, you see.

Well, I decided that Nick Harvey has been far too NICE of late, so I ought to show my other side, if only for the one episode.

Mind you, if the correspondence comes flooding in, and Mr Nasty seems to be as popular as Mr Soddin' Whale, then perhaps it could be a regular occurrence.  You never know.

You'll have to pop along again on March the 1st to find out my mood, will you not?  And, of course March 1st is St David's Day, so there might just be some reference to the patron saint of Wales, rather than the patron saint of whales.

Okay, almost midnight, just time to cut my credit card into two separate halves before I press that "publish" button.  Right, I'm off, where's me scissors?

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