A sneak preview of the main events for 2014

By Keith Newbery

Friday, January 3, 2014


THIS ISLAND LIFE THIS is the time of year when everyone is looking at the pennies in the hope the pounds will take care of themselves, so it’s incumbent upon me to do my bit for the common good.

That’s why, if you read this column, it could save you buying the County Press for the rest of 2014, because I’m revealing in advance what the front-page stories are likely to be.


There was chaos at Wightlink’s Fishbourne terminal, with police called to deal with angry motorists as traffic began to back up down Fishbourne Lane.

A spokesperson for the company said: "We apologise for the inconvenience caused to travellers and residents but it was due to circumstances entirely beyond our control.

"We never experienced any "operational problems" last Tuesday morning and, as a result, all our ferries left on time.

"This obviously caught travellers unaware, resulting in considerable mayhem at the terminal. Fortunately, this is an unusual occurrence and is unlikely to happen again."


The IW Council has called in County Press gardening writer Richard Wright to help with its long-awaited "root and branch review".

A council spokesperson said: "As residents will be aware, the "independent" group running the council comprises people whose political beliefs span the vast gulf between right and left.

"This means one man’s pruned branch is another woman’s trimmed root, so conflict has been inevitable. It is for this reason we sought expert help."


The success of the latest Island Festival — which meant visitors were not reduced to piddling at the roadside and being hauled from the site by a tractor — has led to a number of new events being planned for next year.

Island tourism supremo David Thornton said: 'We are extremely excited, because these new events will be based on the popular Bestival.

'There will be a Jestival, which will be an opportunity to watch the Island Council in serious debate; a Testival, in which those attending will be required to answer questions about the Island’s education system; a Nestival, which will be in aid of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; a Pestival, which will be a celebration of cyclists and cycling; and a Mutually Detestival, which will feature Andrew Turner and David Pugh in a public debate.


Southern Vectis has announced plans to invest in three "bendy buses" for use on Island routes.

A spokesman said: "These much larger vehicles will enable us to include more photographs of well-known Island intellectuals on the sides of our vehicles, as we continue our popular 'Islanders who think …’ promotion.

"Unfortunately, some of those we would like to feature would not name svelteness among their many admirable qualities and these bendy buses will now enable us to devote an entire vehicle each to councillors Blezzard, Fuller and Richards."


Wightlink has announced a "fairer and simpler" pricing structure for foot passengers.

A spokesperson said: "Following the hugely-popular imposition of our 'fairer and simpler’ pricing structure for vehicles, it has been decided to assess the price of foot passengers’ tickets on the basis of individual height and weight.

"After all, it is only fair people of a substantial build should be made to pay more than those of more modest dimensions."

Councillors Blezzard, Fuller and Richards immediately announced their intention to oppose the new scheme at all costs.


After several years of sustained criticism, there is good news at last for the education system on the Island.

A spokesperson for Ofsted said: "As far as we are aware, no school principal has gone missing or left their job on the Island for at least a month.

"This is a hugely promising development and gives us great hope for the future."

The spokesperson added: "Ofsted is also encouraged by the news that Island secondary schools are experiencing higher rates of truancy than any other area in the country.

"This is obviously the reason why only 14 per cent of pupils are said to be attending 'good’ schools.’

Why a British twist to story?

IT'S strange how you take something for granted all your life — then someone poses a question so obvious you wonder why it has never been asked before.

It happened last week, when an e-mail passed on to me by Malc Lawrence posed the simple question: "How did Jesus find disciples with names such as Peter, John, James, Matthew, Andrew, Philip, Thomas and Simon in the Middle East 2,000 years ago?"

After all, they are hardly names one instinctively associates with that particular part of the world in those particular times (or even these days, for that matter).

In fact, they seem so modern and so British, most would have featured in any list of the 50 most popular first names for boys compiled by a women’s magazine in recent years.

So if anyone can come up with a theory to explain this anomaly, I’d be grateful if they would get in touch.

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