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June 2009 - Floating Duck Island

On checking back through the viewing figures for the last few editions of Nick Harvey's Comment, a trend of complete randomness has shown itself to be prevalent, so I think the time has come for me to try to do something about it.

Whilst last month's game of two halves dragged in a few appreciative spectators from one or two specific demographic groups, the overall performance of recent issues has been little short of poor, I'm sorry to report.

So I decided that some urgent action was required, in the form of a viewer-grabbing headline that would be of interest to practically everybody in the World Wide Spider's little home; and would be, what I understand they now call, a "Google-grabber", in that all Mr Spider's lovely search engines will now be sending people to this page in their droves.

Time then, to welcome the positively millions of new and returning viewers to this epic which will be the June edition of Comment.  Oh, yes, and you madam, in the third row, are welcome as well.

I'm sure you've all arrived here expecting some wonderful words of political wisdom from Nick Harvey in order to assist you in making up your minds where to place your X on the ballot paper in just four days time.

Now, shall I disappoint you all now, or leave it till a bit later?  Seeing as you've already arrived and been counted into this month's statistics, then it really is of little import whether I send you away unhappy now or in a few minutes time, down at the bottom of the page.

You see, I have no intention whatsoever of giving you the slightest bit of advice on how to vote on Thursday.  That matter must be totally between you, your conscience and your duly elected UKIP member when you go along to his surgery after the election to discuss matters with him.

No, dear viewers, it is simply the phrase "floating duck island", and a few other short phrases, which I need to place under the Nick Harvey, Acme microscope for in-depth analysis on this occasion.

I really couldn't care in the slightest who it was that purchased the floating duck island in the first place; whether he or I ended up paying for the thing in the end; what political party he represents, or represented; what his voting record is on handing all our parliament's powers over to the bureaucrats in Brussels; or whether the thing has now been shipped over to the pond in the garden of his second, or is it first, or is it second, or is it first home in France.

No, madam, having been bombarded with the phrase "floating duck island" on practically every radio and television channel for the last fortnight or more, what I require to know about it is extremely simple.

Is it a floating island for ducks or an island for floating ducks?  Nobody ever inserts any commas into the phrase when they write it and nobody ever inserts any perceptible pauses into the phrase when they speak it.  It's, therefore, extremely difficult to ascertain whether the correct definition is the former or the latter.

On the basis that you don't notice too many ducks drowning, I think it's fair to assume that all ducks float, don't they?  So that makes it reasonable to assume that it's an island for floating ducks.  However, somebody told me that when the thing isn't on the back of a lorry being reallocated to a different part of the European Community, it actually floats on this guy's first, or second, or first, or second pond.  That would make it a floating island for ducks, then, wouldn't it?

Are you beginning to sympathise with my dilemma on this issue now?  I do hope so.

It's almost as bad as a well known supermarket going round shortening our weeks without permission, you know!

Now, at this point in the proceedings I must pass grateful thanks to Mr D, not of Northern Ireland, but of Manchester, for drawing this particular issue to my attention; and to Mr O of Manchester who actually brought the matter to the attention of the people at Joe's little supermarket.

Have you seen or heard the Sainsburys commercial which talks about "a few short weeks", madam?  What a totally stupid phrase!  I can't quite remember back far enough to the last time the calendar was reorganised, but ever since then, and quite probably before that as well, the week has had seven days in it, has it not?

Seven are good enough for me, seven are probably good enough for you.  So let's keep it at seven shall we, and not allow bloomin' supermarkets to start discounting our weeks as well as everything else they lay their hands on.

To be fair to Sainsburys, though, Mr O did get a very nice reply from a Ms B in their customer relations department, proving that a sense of humour is alive and well at Joe's place and saying that they only intend to shorten the weeks between Monday and Friday, so our time off at the weekend will not be affected in any way.

Faithful devotees of this load of old rubbish will already have realised that a few short weeks on a floating duck island is exactly the sort of wordy conundrum that Nick Harvey loves beyond measure.  It's been a very good month for words, don't you know?

As well as the humour of the television news bulletins and the commercial breaks therein, one of those ever-circulating e-mails has been doing the rounds this month under the title of "Creative Puns for Educated Minds".  It was just what the doctor ordered here at Harvey Towers after the telephonic disaster which was last month.

I'll steal just a couple of examples to give you an idea of what it was all about.  If you want a copy of the whole thing, then you'll just have to write in on the back of the usual ten pound note and ask for one.

The e-mail talks about the soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray and is now a seasoned veteran; and reminds us that however much we push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

It's not very often Nick Harvey reads all the way down to the end of an e-mail which has been forwarded more than twice, but this one I did, and thoroughly enjoyed it I have to say.

Well, after a somewhat wordy month, it must be just about time-to-go time again.  There'll be more of this rubbish, as ever, on July the first, so do please put me back together, sorry, join me, again then.

I need to go off and feed the grid reference for our Polling Station into the Tom-Tom now.  There seem to be so few Polling Stations this time round that I'll probably get lost on the way if I don't.  Right, I'm off, where's me voting card?

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