THE front-page headline of last week’s CP must have evoked extra seasonal cheer among Islanders, with its headline news of a "Sandown spruce-up".
Can this be true? Mops, buckets, spray polish, that sort of thing? Apparently so. A nice man called Marino Zanti, general manager at The Needles (an attraction run by Heritage Great Britain), has plans for the company to take over the lease at Sandham Gardens and, although there’s no immediate mention of mops and buckets, the very first paragraph of this story gives an idea of his priorities in presenting Sandown with a revolutionary makeover.
The town’s spruce-up, it seems, will be fronted by a "big name". Marvellous! Who’s it to be? The National Trust’s head housekeeper? Those women from off the telly, Kim and Aggie, who used to go around wiping their fingers over other people’s kitchen surfaces and shrieking about bacteria? Their programme, How Clean is Your House?, hasn’t been on for a while, so maybe they’ve been busy doing an assessment for Mr Zanti on how clean Sandown is. Not very, is my guess.
Or perhaps the "big name" will be some international architectural giant, Lord Norman Foster, perhaps, or Renzo Piano, who will erect a magnificently on-trend conceptual building design in Sandham Gardens.
Why, Mr Zanti may even have garnered sponsorship from the world of art that will inaugurate a new Tate Gallery on the site, filled with big names, such as Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin.
Actually, maybe not Miss Emin. Sandown needs a spruce-up, not any more unmade beds. Hirst will be fine, though. The town leads the way with anachronistic dinosaurs and tigers housed out of their natural habitat. A few cows floating about in tanks of formaldehyde will add perfectly to the theme of animals that aren’t really in the right place.
So, come on. We’re breathless with excitement. Roll of drums as you tell us this "big name". Ooh, maybe it’s royal. Perhaps Lord Foster is going to design a turreted Wendy house in Sandham Gardens for Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Oh. Well, I must say, I didn’t see that one coming. It seems this "high-profile brand" which will trail-blaze for Sandown’s spruce-up could well be Burger King. Or maybe Nando’s.
Are you sure that’s right? I mean, I know the Island is terribly short of fast-food eateries where we can stuff our faces, and obviously there’s absolutely nowhere to buy any food ourselves, not a supermarket in sight, and we’re all limping around like half-starved wretches, but a Burger King?
I agree this brand is "big", as all of us will be once we’ve rolled out of Sandham Gardens, but there are other names in the food line which might give rather more impetus to the idea of Sandown becoming spruce.
Jamie Oliver, for instance. He’s very keen on tidy plates of healthiness. I’m not sure whether he’d regard Burger King’s new Creamy Mayo Double Cheeseburger, available with optional chicken nuggets, salted fries and onion rings and accompanied by a Strawberry Super Shake ("lashings of whipped cream and drizzled with strawberry sauce"), as particularly "spruce".
Still, if it’s that or Nando’s, I’m inclined to view Burger King as the better option, if for no other reason than it’s got a distinct regal ring about it and maybe we could still procure George and Charlotte with the promise of a complimentary kid’s meal, including a "Whopper Jr — flame-grilled yum" and a mini frozen Coke.
Yes, go for it, Mr Zanti. And I see your plans for Sandown also include a "new ice-cream parlour", presumably in case we’re still hungry after our double cheeseburger. Also that the adventure golf course is going to be "upgraded".
Just as well. I doubt anybody will be fit enough to waddle round it, so its weight-bearing capacity will definitely have to be upgraded to take all the golf-buggies lumbering along.
Oh but look, here’s a promise of "20 new beach huts". Now, that really does sound spruce, and I’m sure Lord Foster would be pleased to help out here.
Obviously, he’s not much of a big name in comparison with Burger King but Sandown need only pay him in chicken nuggets and he’ll be well satisfied.