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October 2005 - Flashing Blue LightWell, dear viewers, here we are again, at the point where September turns into October, where the leaves turn from green to yellow and where sunlit evenings turn to poorly streetlit danger zones.
The story for this month starts a couple of Saturdays ago, to be precise. Brown chap, leg at each corner, tail at the back, has had a bit of a limp, so we'd not been out for any of our normal lengthy yomps for a few days.
Messrs L and R Leg kept hinting to Mr Brain that some exercise might just be in order, before the entire system, south of Mr Neck, started to seize up for the winter.
The possibility also occurred briefly to Mr Brain, that one option for the evening might be a kind of alcohol sandwich, with a brisk walk from home into town and back forming the bread on either side, with a bijou glass, or just possibly two, of finest Cotes du Rhone forming a most excellent filling in between.
Now, madam, answer this truthfully, but have you ever heard a more poetic description of the simple task of walking up the pub of an evening, for a bevy or two? No, of course you haven't.
And, it has to be said, that if you add that special extra ingredient of the evening in question being the night of the full moon, then the poetic nature of this month's offering takes on an even greater significance.
So, off we go for October, then. Transport of the two-legged variety is the main item on the agenda for this month.
Well, that and the odd, bijou ramble off into the exciting world of digression, no doubt; seeing as I'd hate to disappoint that nice lady in the fifth row.
As I set off in the direction of the town, my faith in humanity was restored for a few brief moments by a father and son, the son being a young lad of only about five or six, standing in their front garden, the youngster looking at the moon through a hand-held telescope, whilst Dad was explaining it all and telling him what to look for.
I didn't think that kind of thing went on any more. It was nice to see the boy actually looking at the moon for real, rather than via the technology of a television or computer screen.
Dad seemed to be quite knowledgeable on the subject and I even managed to digress from my stroll for a few minutes to join in the discussion of craters and similar heavenly bodies.
There you are, dear lady in the fifth row, you weren't quite ready for that particular one, were you? Trust Nick Harvey to come up with the unexpected!
Following our illuminating discussion, I continued on my way towards the centre of town and, initially, the banking quarter.
Isn't it odd that every town has its banking quarter? Why, I can't help wondering, do all the banks set up shop within doors of one another?
I mean, you never get one street with seven newsagents, all side by side, in it, do you? So why do all the banks and building societies huddle together in one place, like damp sheep under a tree in the rain?
Perhaps it's in case one of them runs out of money, so the manager can quickly pop next door to borrow some extra; you know, like when you pop round to your neighbour's if you need a cup of sugar?
Anyway, having taken advantage of the most excellent lobby service and stocked up with some of those purple drinking vouchers, I ventured across the market place to the big hotel, where all the posh people hang out.
My goodness! No wonder only the posh folks drink in there! I could have crossed back to the wine merchant's, next to the bank, and bought a whole bottle of decent wine for less than the hotel charged me for one SMALL glass. Thank heavens I took the option of the small glass and not a large one.
Right, slight change of plan here, methinks. Slightly more of the bread on either side and a little less of the over-priced filling, I think, to continue the analogy from above.
Fuelled by my extremely bijou beverage, it's time to restart the exercise phase and take the more scenic route back towards home; this time, walking in a moonward direction, which is rather nice.
Well, it starts off as rather nice, but, as I walk, my naked-eye examination of the craters, as discussed earlier, rapidly becomes somewhat difficult due to the effect of the blue flashing lights.
They seem to be coming from everywhere. I keep walking, in the fairly certain knowledge that the further I get away from the banking quarter, where the crime must surely be being committed, the less likely I am to have my study of the cosmos disturbed.
Wrong! The blue flashing lights appear to be following me. The damn things seem to be everywhere!
Eventually I realise that it's a Saturday evening and our local constabulary only bother to have one police car in our half of the county on a Saturday evening, for fear that their officers might get themselves into some trouble when the pubs turn out and then actually have to do some work.
So it can't be our brave boys in blue flashing at me, so what might it be?
Now, I could answer that question immediately, or I could amuse the fifth row lady again by musing for a while on these recently published plans to merge up our police forces into larger units, so P.C. Plod will be able to hide in his police car a couple of hundred miles away from the crime, instead of only fifty.
Just think, they could get the whole length of the M4 controlled by just one police force. I rather like the sound of "The Berkshire and Carmarthenshire Constabulary" as a title.
Showing your documents at your local police station could turn into a whole day trip, for which you have to book a holiday from work!
But, surprise, surprise, I digress! Yes, the blue lights; simple really; Casualty's on!
Back in my youth, when walking the streets of an evening was a much more regular pastime, televisions were kept downstairs in the lounge, the living room, the sitting room, or whatever you used to call the place.
Not any more, however. Every five or six year old in the country, with the very obvious exception of the one who was examining the moon through the telescope, now has a television, of the colour variety, upstairs in their bedroom.
Nobody seems to bother with drawing the upstairs curtains any more, either, so it's the blue lights of the Holby Ambulance Service which are following me hither and thither as I wend my way through the streets, homeward and moonward.
Homeward, it has to be said, to assist in the demolition of a whole bottle of Cotes du Rhone which cost precisely one penny less than the small glassful I had had earlier in the big hotel.
In many ways, it's now rather sad that as you gaze across the rooftops of estate after estate, it's not the light of the silvery moon which grabs your attention any more, but the pale blue glow coming out of windows, from countless upstairs televisions and computer screens.
Ah, I suppose I'm not exactly helping with my own problem here, am I? But no, the background colour for this load of old rubbish has been pale blue since 1991 and I don't see why I should change it after fourteen odd years.
That happy band of devotees who regularly complain about getting panda eyes from being exposed to my creative colour scheme are but a minority. I'm certain they won't be able to survive a month without reading my wonderful words of wisdom, so I shall leave the colours as they are, in the sure and certain knowledge that they'll keep on coming back.
Talking of coming back, that's exactly what you've all got to do, promptly on November 1st, when the next epistle will be unveiled.
Just now, however, I need to go downstairs and give brown chap his anti-inflammatory pill. Don't worry, I'll leave the curtains open, so the lad with the telescope can read this a week in advance of publication. Right, I'm off, where's me wine glass?
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