Archive for the ‘Upstanding locals’ Category
It’s interesting when news reports open with irrelevant detail about the person involved in the story; particularly when style guide conventions mean the detail is in capital letters.
“A WIDOW says foxes are raiding rubbish bags…”
Does widow status lend some form of legitimacy to what you say? Is that what this is about?
“A WIFE says foxes are raiding rubbish bags…”
Well, in that case, I don’t believe a ruddy word of it.
Waltham Forest Guardian, 10 June 2010 (story):
Foxes create nappy mess
A WIDOW says foxes are raiding rubbish bags and littering her garden with soiled nappies.
Wildlife experts believe the fox which attacked baby twins Lola and Isabella Koupparis as they slept in their cots last week may have mistaken the smell of the dirty nappies for food.
Jean Farmer, of Colchester Road, Leyton, thinks they could be right as her beloved garden is often strewn with used nappies brought in by neighbourhood foxes.
She said: “I get so frustrated because this has been going on for six months now. There are usually quite a few nappies when it happens. It maybe happens three nights a week.”
Mrs Farmer, who is proud of her 90ft-long garden, said she and her lodger share the responsibility of clearing up the unpleasant mess.
She said: “I’m a former nurse but as I’ve got older my stomach has become more sensitive.”
Alright, luv, there’s no need to talk us through your nappy-filling process. Even if you are a widow and therefore anything you do or say is worthy of media attention.
The photo is marvellous: the carefully placed nappies; the “what the hell?” hand gestures; the ill-advised headwear; and the general scarecrow gait of the widow. Superb. Thank you to Angry People in Local Newspapers for drawing it to my attention.
The multitudinous hurdles encountered by The Great British Public in attempting to exercise its vote in the recent general election have been well documented in the national media. But the turnout on 6 May wasn’t only limited by the damp weather, understaffed polling stations, or the neoliberal-economic political elite’s deliberate disenfranchisement of the working class since the 1980s.
Oh no, there was something altogether more sinister going on that day near Staines. But then again, isn’t there always?
Staines News, 11 May 2010 (story):
‘Swan eyed polling card like a piece of bread’
VOTERS at a Thorpe polling station had more to contend with than trying to decide which party to vote for on Thursday (April [sic] 6).
A group of unruly swans that rest on Truss’ Island during the day caused consternation to several voters, who had to negotiate the orange beaks on their way to the small polling station hut, situated in the car park.
The swans are regularly fed on the riverbank here so view any humans arriving, as a potential source of food.
One voter, who did not wish to be named, said: “It was a bit intimidating as they all gathered around me when I got out the car. I thought they were going to peck at me, one kept looking at my polling card – I think he thought it was a piece of bread.”
Rumours are rife that election returning officers will soon be required to declare the number of spoilt batch loaves.
While we’re here, this article concludes with a baffling observation from one voter:
The swans dispersed to the water later in the afternoon, leaving people to cast their votes hassle-free. Asked what he thought about the potential for a hung parliament, one voter said it was a ‘mute’ point.
Does the Staines News reporter know there’s no such thing as a ‘mute’ point, and therefore they’ve employed the inverted commas in order to mock the voter’s error? Or have they themselves made the classic error of mishearing and misunderstanding the concept of a moot point? With utterly hilarious consequences for all of us, obviously. We’ll probably never know now; most frustrating.
Calling the people of Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, England… you are one step closer to the glory of knowing you have spawned the face of BigD nuts.
Staines News, 21 May 2010 (story):
Sunbury Page 3 girl wants your vote
PAGE 3 model and Sunbury girl Rosie Jones is one step closer to becoming the face of BigD nuts.
The local lass, who is featured regularly in weekly lads magazines Zoo and Nuts, has reached the semi finals of a competition which could see her become the face of the snack’s ad campaigns for the next four years.
Rosie, who attended St Ignatius School, in Green Street, and St Paul’s College, in The Ridings, is up against 20 other girls all eyeing the final in July.
Regional newspapers love nothing more than a local boy or girl done good. They relentlessly hype their home-grown celebrities and report their every move, however small their fame or futile their endeavours. Any article about them will contain the obligatory ‘town name + gender identifier’ reference (“Sunbury girl”, “Chichester lad”, “Spalding transsexual”) and, of course, a list of the local schools they attended. We couldn’t be doing without that.
The celebrities themselves are often willing to capitalise on this misplaced local pride by offering quotes to the paper too.
Rosie, 19, said: “I am honoured to be in the semi final and it is really exciting to think that I could soon be appearing in thousands of pubs throughout the country. I have the chance to put my home town of Sunbury on the map. I hope the people of Sunbury can show their support and vote for me.”
I have a sneaky feeling Sunbury might rather not be ‘on the map’ at all.
The nether regions does not endorse orchestrated campaigns of vandalism or crude insults, except for when they’re directed at Tory election candidates.
Failed Tory candidate Nick King ran crying to the Bournemouth Echo when his election posters were targeted as part of a ‘trail of destruction’ in the form of childish graffiti. Incredible scenes.
Warm thanks to Gordon Skillen for this scan. Click the picture for the article and a Tory scowl in full-size glory.
Here are a few extracts:
It’s true you know: Tories do eat puppies. But only once they’ve stripped away their pension rights and privatised them first.
Bournemouth Echo, 11 May 2010 (story):
[...] On three occasions a clear trail of destruction could be traced. One night the act of vandalism went right from the Bakers Arms roundabout, through Upton, on to Broadstone and finally to Wimborne, where the stolen signs were dumped on Mr King’s front lawn.
He told the Echo the perpetrators even emailed him from an anonymous Gmail account to taunt him about their actions.
Oooh, get them…!
It’s unclear whether Nick King is suggesting these harmless daubings played a role in his failure to win the Dorset Mid & Poole North seat. A Liberal Democrat won anyway so it’s not clear why he’s bothered – it’s still a Tory seat, for fuck’s sake to be fair FFS TBF.
Many newspapers would pass up the opportunity to run a story like this. Thankfully the Lancashire Telegraph is not so picky, and delves into the matter with great gusto.
Lancashire Telegraph, 12 April 2010 (story):
Blackburn shop calls security over Darwen pensioner’s cookie
A PENSIONER said she was left humiliated when Marks and Spencer cafe staff called security while she was eating a biscuit she’d bought in the store.
Thelma Williams, 86, of Sudell, Darwen, said she was told that she had ‘got to put it away now’ by a staff member in the cafe at the Blackburn town centre store.
A guard was then called because she had tucked into the 39p cookie. [...]
Thelma had bought a scone and biscuit from the food section of the store and her daughter treated them to lunch in the cafe.
After a toasted sandwich Thelma, decided not to have a cake but would eat her biscuit, which she had been saving for her tea.
But as soon as she bit into it a member of staff marched over to her and told her she could not eat the product due to the VAT difference on cafe-bought and shop-bought food.
She said they then called security.
It’s worth noting that Thelma is one of those old ladies who carries things around which they are ‘saving for their tea’ . This typically octogenarian behaviour is only a step away from ‘having one bite and wrapping the rest up for later’. I’ve seen people do that. Utter lunacy.
I wonder if Thelma is the self-pitying type?
Thelma said: “The security guard was being stupid, he was stern.
“I thought it was petty and ridiculous. I realise they have rules to stick to but it was so silly, I felt stupid. They made me feel like I had committed a crime. It was just one biscuit that I had bought from the shop downstairs. I didn’t know I was going to eat it.
“The situation was crazy, I would have paid the extra 10p for sitting in the chair to eat it.
“All the customers were looking at me, it was so embarrassing and very distressing. I couldn’t sleep that night.
“If someone even more vulnerable than me was faced with this situation it would have been even more distressing for them.”
An apology wouldn’t have gone amiss. It seems she wants to have her cookie and eat it too.
Thank you to Gavin Jopson for this story, paid for with the VAT difference included.
This isn’t just your bog-standard equine smutfest.
Yorkshire Evening Post, 12 April 2010 (story):
Man admits sex with horse and donkey
A 66-year-old man has pleaded guilty to having sex with a horse and a donkey.
Joseph Squires appeared at Leicester Crown Court charged with buggery of a donkey between February 2 and February 5, 1999, and buggery of a horse between March 15 and 18, 2004.
First, that’s a full three days in conference with each of the animals; previously unknown levels of buggery stamina.
Second, announcing in court that a man who admits sex with a horse and donkey ‘does not have a stable address’ is utterly marvellous.
Defence counsel Amar Mehta told the court Squires had no previous convictions and was of previous good character.
Requesting that Squires be released on bail, he said: “The defendant does not have a stable address although he says his daughter can provide an address.”
I bet they’ll have had a laugh about that one back in the solicitors’ office.
But on a serious note, if people aren’t prepared to commit to sharing a home with a lover then, in my view, they’re living in sin and a custodial sentence is the only option. Broken Britain.
The nether regions, twinned with GrammarBlog, is always up for a spot of spelling and grammar pedantry. When that’s mixed with regional newspaper coverage, the pleasure is almost too much to take.
Everyone should be ideologically opposed to levels of decadence that mean a schoolboy can use a five pounds and ninety-five pence bottle of designer washing-up liquid to make a volcano for his school homework, but you’ve got to tip your hat to this 13 year-old’s impressive levels of smugness.
Warm eruptions of thanks go to Emma Crofts for this story.
Bristol Evening Post, 22 February 2010 (story):
Bristol schoolboy forced Harvey Nichols to take bottle off the shelves
A 13-year-old schoolboy has forced luxury store Harvey Nichols to change the supplier of its washing-up liquid after spotting a mistake on the bottle’s label.
George McGeown, a Year 8 student at Chew Valley School, was using the £5.95 luxury bottle of dish washing liquid to make a working volcano for his homework science project when he spotted the blunder.
On the back of the bottle, instructions tell users to ‘squirt a drop OF two’, when it should read ‘squirt a drop OR two’.
Other mistakes in the small print on the back of the bottle include a missing apostrophe, a wrongly placed comma and a rogue semicolon inserted in the middle of a sentence.
Although the article asserts that George and his mum Shirley, 51, “forced” the removal the product by pointing out these appalling errors (I’d like to think the rogue semi;colon played a particularly key role), Harvey Nichols have sidestepped the matter by claiming they were going to remove the product anyway. Plot —> thickening.
Proof that it doesn’t cost £6 to get grammar right:
Mrs McGeown told the Evening Post that she bought the bottle from the Bristol Harvey Nics store “to put on show” in her kitchen.
She said: “That bottle cost £6, and I only got it to put on show. You can get two bottles of Fairy Liquid in Morrisons for £1, and there are no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes on those bottles. Why does it need to have instructions anyway? It’s not rocket science.”
George got top marks from his teachers for his volcano model. He made it by drawing around the base of the washing up bottle to make a hole in a shoe box. A piece of cardboard was then wrapped around the bottle to create a funnel, which was put into the hole and attached. Food colouring and bicarbonate of soda was put inside the tube to mimic the lava.
Mrs McGeown said: “George was using the bottle for his project when he drew around it and noticed the mistake. He said: ‘Mum, this isn’t right. Shouldn’t it be ‘squirt a drop or two’?'”
George told the Post: “I wonder how they did in their SATS – obviously they didn’t go to Chew Valley School.” [...]
Bristol sales manager Franc Ninic said in an email to Mrs McGeown: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking valuable time to provide feedback on grammar and spelling mistake on instruction of product (sic).”
Fantasic application of “(sic)” there; I’m sure they’ll all have had a laugh about that one in the newsroom.
This letter has it all: hysteria, self pity, physical insults, human insecurity, a touching element of forgiveness, and excessive exclamation marks!!!
If you know the malicious mini driver in question, or indeed if you are her, please get in touch.
Romford Recorder, 26 March 2010 (full letter):
Road rage ordeal for driver
I HAVE just arrived home having been a victim of a road rage incident. A young woman driving a mini thought that I was racing her at the YMCA lights in Romford. She drove her car in front of mine and got out and started verbally abusing me! She was very aggressive and very personal!
Her main issues seemed to be that I had no right to be racing with her, to be on the road in my car or to exist in my physical frame and at my age! The irony was that I wasn’t racing her in the first place – I drive a Picasso diesel people carrier!! Not a car you would choose to race in really! [...]
I just wanted to question what right this person had to assume that she was better than someone older (she suggested I was 60 – I am in fact much older than that, so am feeling flattered on this front), fatter (only marginally larger than her) and driving a Picasso (hey, no excuse for this one!!).
She was not a particularly physically attractive girl, having a skin problem, really bad hair and being overweight – but I did not feel that I wanted to hurt her by being mutually aggressive.
I am left feeling confused and hurt – I wonder if she would accept someone acting in this way to her mother? This person needs to learn that she will not always remain as she is (I used to model professionally under my maiden name and did not remain the same!!) – and nor should she – life is about growing up, maturing, gaining experience and realising what is important in life.
I would love if this letter gets printed and the lady reads it and recognises herself – perhaps she will also consider her actions. At the time, I was torn between being so upset and anxious and wanting to get out and give her some back.
I am proud that I held it together and did not retaliate as I believe that I came out the better person – she may not think this now, but I hope she looks back on this behaviour and is ashamed. I did take her number plate and was being followed by a neighbour who has said he will be a witness – but I have no desire to get the lady into trouble with the police for what I hope was just a bad day.
I do believe in everyone getting a chance as we all make mistakes!
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED
All in all, a real lesson in life.
At first glance, it could have been just any old protest at plans to close a local primary school. But then the affected children publicly unburdened their souls through deeply moving verse. The Staines News was first on the scene.
Staines News, 18 February 2010 (story):
Pupils write poems to save Shortwood School
DISHEARTENED school children have visited the Mayor of Spelthorne to read poems to try and stop the closure of their school.
Children aged between five and seven visited Caroline Spencer in her offices at Spelthorne Council, in Knowle Green, on Wednesday, and read stories and poems about the possible closure of Shortwood Infant School, in Stanwell New Road, Staines.
Just imagine having to stare these children in the face when they’ve finished reading their poems and tell them their school is still getting bulldozed to make way for an Aldi.
Although Mrs Spencer had to remain non-political due to her post, she said ‘it was lovely to meet the children and I had great fun hearing their works.’
One of the poems was written by six-year-old Georgina Clark, which said: “I am at the end of my Shortwood years, but the council (Surrey) have brought me to tears.”
Mrs Buckingham’s daughter Carys, also read a poem, which said: “The teachers are so great, but don’t forget our mates.”
Mrs Buckingham said the children were competing to write the best poem, and said that kind of competition is what makes the school worth keeping open.
Despite the fact there’s always a good story in emotional blackmail like this, the report disgracefully fails to quote any more extracts from the children’s poetry. There will have surely been further tear-jerking nuggets of youthful resentment left unreported:
“We may be practically toddlers, but even we know this is cobblers.”
“If I end up unable to spell, I hope you’ll burn in hell.”
“When Shortwood gets the axe, where do you expect us to play Kissy Cats?”
“It’s not just the council (Surrey) we hate, but in fact decades of flawed national education policy and the increasing reliance upon market forces in the delivery of schooling, mate.”
Warm thanks to Dave King for forwarding this photo of the front page of the latest issue of the Chew Valley & Wrington Vale Gazette.
This week in Chew Valley and Wrington Vale… that is quite some hedge:
‘Champion Hedger Colin Clutterbuck of Stanton Drew with Chairman of the Wrington & Burrington Hedging Society, Dave Keedwell’ is surely one of the finest photo captions ever published.
I wonder if there is a financial prize; it would lend new meaning to the term ‘hedge fund’.