Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Column, June 20, 2006

HORLICKS is running and ad campaign at the moment depicting the UK’s least popular professions, asking how they sleep at night.
You may have seen them, they depict a traffic warden slapping a ticket on a car moments after its meter time elapses and poses the question, "How do they sleep at night." Cue film of the warden, mug of Horlicks in hand, thus answering the question.
But this week we’ve found one profession, which surely plumbs even greater depths of unpopularity than traffic wardens, estate agents, and politicians – car clampers.
Journalists, strangely enough, don’t even make an appearance in the bottom 10.
Ask yourself how you would sleep at night if you were the clamper who immobilised the car of district nurse Virginia Williams, of Queensferry.
Here I should declare an interest, because Virginia Williams was my neighbour for many years. Not that that makes a difference, if you clamp nurses on their way to patients then you’re going to have some answering to do in the great hereafter as far as I’m concerned.
So what you may say, why should a nurse get special treatment?
A nurse who was on her way to a patient, and who was calling at a pharmacy to pick up medication for the patient who was in considerable pain.
A district nurse who was then delayed 45 minutes in getting to that patient because she had to come up with £75 to pay the clamper before her vehicle was released.
"I tried to appeal to his better nature but he didn’t have one," said Mrs Williams, in a neat piece of understatement.
So, how does someone like that sleep at night, and how do the people who have since rejected her appeal against the charge?
I would think they are single-handedly keeping the malty night-time drinks industry in business.
I wonder what that particular clamper said to his children when they inquired: "What did you do today dad?" How did he spin what he did to make his son proud of his dad clamping a nurse on her way to a pain-ridden patient?
"This evil nurse son, she was cruelly and wantonly occupying a parking space while buying drugs, but I taught her, she won’t put patients before parking any time soon, ha ha ha ha."
It will make for an interesting morning when the lad share with his friends just what dad does for a living won’t it? The sons of doctors, lawyer, MPs, bank robbers and estate agents are going to be well impressed with his boats about his dad’s prowess in immobilising nurses on their way to treat patients aren’t they?
Quite why these legalised bandits have not been run out of town by our legislators is anyone’s guess, they often promise crackdowns on their behaviour, but Virginia Williams’s case shows that it’s all talk and no action.
Of course the clampers will argue they are just providing a service and the parking space belonged to someone.
Quite true, but clamping doesn’t exactly free up the space does it? In fact in this case it kept the car there for 45 minutes while she got the cash to free it.
But you can only hope what goes around comes around, one day the clamper might require treatment from someone like Virginia Williams, when he does he better hope his mates aren’t too busy that day.

ONE of the nicest compliments, alright, one of the very few compliments, writing this column has garnered for me was an invite back to my old school to speak at the Year 11 leaving ceremony.
It was nice to see some of my old teachers, many of whom have weathered the years better than yours truly – columnism, it’s a hard life.
But inevitably one or two were missing and sadly missed.
One of them was Valmai Bayliss, later Valmai Antrobus, my first year French teacher, the fact I can still conjugate the verb etre is a testament to her teaching skill. I remember her as a kind, gentle teacher, who put up admirably with the manglings of what can be a very beautiful language by her young pupils.
One of her colleagues, and another of my former teachers, Delia Bettaney, promised herself that when she retired she would open her garden in Valmai Antrobus’s memory to raise funds for Nightingale House, where she received such excellent care.
This Saturday, June 24, she is doing just that, at Rose Cottage, Rockliffe Lane, Oakenholt, from 10am to 5pm.
I hope that she gets a good attendance for what is a very worthy cause.

CALL it superb sporting acumen, comprehensive footballing knowledge, or, erm, blind luck, but my chosen team, Ghana, have set the World Cup alight.
After a disappointing, but predictable, defeat by Italy, they then turned the competition on its head by lashing the Czech Republic 2-0.
James Mossop, of the Sunday Telegraph, described their performance thus: "Ghana were the entertainers. They improvised so instinctively, their play was like peacocks dancing."
If they beat USA and Italy just draw against the Czech Republic then they’re into the next stage.
Go the Black Stars.

3 comments:

Daniel Davies, PA Welsh Affairs Correspondent said...

Yes indeed. Contributing to the great march of Welsh democracy. In this regard I think of myself as an untied bootlace.

justajob said...

My favourite of the Horlicks ads is the one with the bus driver who pulls away just as the lady with the shopping runs up. We never do any thing like that of course.

The other point, wheelclampers are like politicians, I'm not sure we need then but they will never go away.

Banksy said...

Welcome to my blog, justajob, and can I say how much I enjoyed yours, particularly your run-in with white van man on a roundabout.