THIS ISLAND LIFE
IT'S odd the things that cross your mind when you’re walking dogs over the downs in the middle of a torrential drought.
As the rain swooped in horizontally and the gentle, early summer breeze threatened to blow my wax jacket inside out, I trudged on through ankle-deep puddles and squinted out at the soggy landscape.
"It can’t be long," I thought, "before hose pipes are banned on the IW.
"This is obviously the wrong sort of rain and the Southern Water big shots are probably dusting off the prohibition notices as we speak.
"They will not want to run the risk of Islanders popping out between cloudbursts to water their gardens."
I should apologise at this stage for these random meanderings but they are the sort of things which tend to cross your mind when you have only an arthritic collie and a gormless mongrel for company and the prospect of a column to write when you get home.
Then my gaze fell upon a field of brassica napus, which is an altogether more agreeable name for the acres of throbbing yellow we have come to know as oilseed rape.
Why, I wondered, do you never see a brassica napus circle?
Every year the most extraordinarily intricate patterns appear overnight in the middle of wheat and barley fields, yet brassica napus crops remain largely untouched.
But you would think any passing alien would notice these swathes of radiant yellow shimmering far below and be unable to resist the temptation of swooping down to baffle us earthlings with another of their complex creations.
These designs have been variously described as the genome of the human race or the binary code for the future of the universe but may even be the complicated mathematical formula used to work out the salaries of the fat cats at County Hall (which are, in every sense of the phrase, out of this world).
There are some, of course, who believe crop circles to be the work of 'nature’, by which they mean the weather.
This theory even received support from none other than Stephen Hawking, who once pronounced that corn circles were either man-made hoaxes or formed by 'the vortex movement of air’.
Could the great man have been referring to the same vortex movement of air which, at that very moment, was threatening to wrench my baseball cap off my head and despatch it to the furthest reaches of Brading?
I’m not a renowned authority on matters meteorological but surely vortex movements of air are better known for flattening entire communities on the plains of Arkansas than sculpting complex patterns into the cornfields of Wiltshire?
Anyway, don’t crop circles require detailed design work and fine execution, for which vortex movements of air are not renowned?
I have an open mind on the source of crop circles, because some are so alluringly labyrinthine they cannot possibly have been created by a few herberts wandering around in the moonlight with a few planks and a length of rope.
But if they are, I wish these people would make themselves known and come to the Island to show everyone how it’s done.
It would do wonders for the tourist industry.
It’s a short walk and a long ring
Keith roped in for bell ringing.
MORE than 300 people turned up at the Minster in Newport the other Saturday to have a go at bell ringing.
Among them were the Island’s affable new High Sheriff, Nick Hayward, and his delightful wife, Nicky.
It has since occurred to me they must have had a tough time of it 30 years ago when Jim Davidson was actually popular and everyone was going around shouting 'nick-nick’, which was the egregious one’s catchphrase at the time.
I must find out how they coped with the torment when next our paths cross.
In the meantime, you might like to cast your eye over this picture of me, which apparently caused some amusement in CP Towers.
I had made the mistake of wearing a black polo shirt with a white vest beneath, which produced this unlikely ecclesiastical appearance.
It did not escape the notice of deputy editor Rachael Rosewell.
"Are you ringing a bell or making a noose?" she e-mailed, before adding: "We didn’t know you’d taken the cloth".
I can safely say being described as a cross between Albert Pierrepoint and Derek Nimmo was a first.
And a rather heated footnote
ELAINE Cesar is a persuasive woman. Why else would I be exposing my unshod size 13s to six metres of red-hot coals tomorrow (Saturday) evening?
The 'fire walk’ in aid of charity takes place in St Thomas’s Square, Newport, around 9pm and foremost in the line-up will be Level 42’s Mark King.
I’ll be the one at the end of the queue doing a rain dance.