Coppins Bridge, from the Elim Church to Cineworld, there’s so much to see and enjoy. Picture by Peter Boam.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
OVER on the mainland, there has been some cutting-edge thinking on tourist attractions with the recent unveiling of a coach tour of the M25.
The first day trip around the 117-mile London orbital was a sell-out, with passengers paying £15 each to take in such delights as Clacket Lane services (a good place for sighting rats, apparently), the Dartford Tunnel, and the former Middlesex County Asylum, now a residential development.
Everybody had a lovely time, and with two comfort breaks, lunch at the South Mimms service station, and the unexpected sighting of a lorry stuck on the hard shoulder, this inaugural tour of the road to nowhere was deemed a distinct hit.
Well, now. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Never let it be said that we cannot do what the mainland does. In fact, we can do it better. And cheaper. As the Island’s equivalent to the M25 must be Coppins Bridge, I think we’d have to do it cheaper, actually. Say a tenner, and that includes a comfort break at the Weatherspoons pub, the William Coppin.
There may be 117 miles of the M25, but what Coppins Bridge lacks in distance is more than compensated by the marvellous features which our tourists will enjoy as they travel around this stimulating Island highway. The M25 Dartford crossing incorporates two tunnels and a bridge, yet they are surely as nothing compared to the delightfully landscaped contours of our trans-Medina overpass.
And that’s just the start of it. Thanks to the perverse arrangement of traffic lights, which ensures a snail’s pace progress for our journey, the Coppins Bridge experience is guaranteed to provide the perfect opportunity to look at all its many and varied features in detail.
Marvel first at the Elim Pentecostal Church, with its personalised God Loves You sign. Doesn’t that make you just glow with happiness? Better than the Clacket Lane rats any day. I expect we could arrange in advance for passengers to have their own names painted on to it. Say an extra fiver, and cheap at the price.
OK, what next? A quick toot round the Upper Coppins Bridge car park? Isn’t it delightful? We could stay here all day, really, only we can’t afford the council’s parking charges, plus we’ve got a lot more on our agenda.
Awesome, that’s the only word for what comes next, the loveliness that is Cineworld. Look at it! Isn’t that just the finest architecture you’ve ever seen? Enjoy the faint aroma of stale popcorn wafting from this shiny behemoth and see how it’s perfectly complemented by the subtlety of neighbouring Maplin (mega deals on all things nerdy.)
Now it’s time for a break and I’m sure our passengers will adore their lunch at the William Coppin. Oh yes.
No need to dwell on that one, so it’s all aboard again for the climax of our trip. Pausing only to peer up Pyle Street to catch a glimpse of the offices of the finest regional newspaper in the country, we approach the junction with the High Street. Is everybody ready for this?
A few years ago, our passengers could have stopped a few yards back and called in for a soothing little chat at the Samaritans offices, but they’ve been pulled down and relocated, so we’ll have to take that one off the tour.
Let’s just hope nobody’s prone to depression because what you have on your left, ladies and gentlemen, is County Hall, home to the IW Council.
Now, tell me, can anything on the M25 beat that on the grim-o-meter? It’s like the Hammer House of Horror crossed with Munch’s The Scream.
Take that, M25, bragging on about your Middlesex County Asylum. In any case, it’s been converted into a residential property. At County Hall, the lunatics are still in residence. Let’s charge our passengers the full £15, and give them a trip they’ll never forget.
Why is getting drunk so brilliant?
I DOUBT whether the government’s proposal for a minimum price on alcohol will be any way effective against binge drinking.
The problem is one of perception. In this country, getting hammered is seen as tremendously amusing.
Jamie Cullen, guest on Desert Island Discs on Sunday, described how at the Golden Globes Awards ceremony he got “completely drunk and had a brilliant time”. Super.
As Mr Cullen seems to equate complete drunkenness with a brilliant time, he might care to explain his thinking to those women who get pummelled by their alcoholic partners, or the relatives of all those who are adding to the spiralling figures of liver-disease mortality.
Fashionable thinking has ostracised smokers, which may be a good thing, yet nobody bashes up their family after puffing through a packet of 20.
As opposed to the “brilliant time” of knocking them about after getting completely drunk.