Tested and approved by EU

By Keith Newbery

Friday, February 17, 2012

 

Tested and approved by EU

The ‘wheelie bin’ speed trap in Holland.

THIS ISLAND LIFEONE of the first rules for columnists is beware what you mention in passing, because it’s invariably more interesting to readers than the main thrust of your literary endeavours.

Two weeks ago, during a hymn of salutation to the wheelie bins, I happened to comment upon the fact they were inscribed with some writing which appeared to be German (though it could have been Dutch, for all I knew).

Hardly had the County Press landed on his front-door mat than Paul 'Misery’ Morris was clattering away at his keyboard to provide me with a translation.

And when I say 'translation’, I don’t mean some rough draft giving a general impression — I mean every single, solitary, Teutonic word and punctuation mark.

The gist was the bins are made of plastic and metal (there’s no getting one over those Germans) and though they are manufactured in the UK, a representative sample must be sent to the motherland for 'type approval certification’.

Once this is granted, the receptacles can be sold anywhere in Europe.

Never one to do things by half, Misery also offered to send me the '32-page test and quality specification, if you’re interested’.

I wasn’t.

The whole thing is depressingly EU but I can now rest easy in my bed, secure in the knowledge that every tuna can I discard (the diet’s still trudging along) meets with Angela Merkel’ s approval.

What with saving the Greek economy, working Sarkozy’s strings and now extending the working life of Lynnbottom tip, it’s no wonder the woman always looks tired.

I also received an e-mail from Mrs Paddi Eales, of Thorley, who reported with undisguised glee that, while on a recent holiday in Holland, she and her husband discovered some wheelie bins over there are actually used as police speed traps.

They are left at the side of the road and she even sent this photograph by way of proof.

Paddi expressed some concern at the difficulty of recruiting police officers small enough to get in the bins and man the cameras and was therefore relieved to discover they were automatic.

Should the Island constabulary adopt this cunning ploy, there would be something almost poetic about getting apprehended by a container covered in German writing.

Finally, my thanks to Martin Mangin, who queried my assertion that 'wheelie’ should weally be spelled 'wheely’.

Martin reckons the bins are female and therefore 'wheelie’ is correct.

"It’s a similar principle to Billie and Billy," he assured me.

Village memories wanted

THE idea has been scuttling around in the back of my mind for years but now, with any luck, it could be in the shops by Christmas.I’m going to write a book about the history and characters of Havenstreet — but I’m going to need a bit of help.

Though I have many memories and anecdotes of the village in which I spent much of my childhood, and in which my father was born and is buried, there’s plenty more I need to find out.

To this end, a gathering will be held in the village community centre on Sunday, March 11, between 2pm and 5pm.

Anyone with photographs, old documents, letters or any other material which could be considered for inclusion in the book is encouraged (nay urged) to bring them.

The book is a non-profit-making venture and all proceeds will be going towards the upkeep of St Peter’s Church in the village.

So come along for a cup of tea and a biscuit — and if you bring any photographs or documents, please ensure they are in an envelope on which your name and address is clearly written.

The ownership of all such material will be acknowledged in the book and returned — but we want to ensure it goes back to the right person!

See you there.

Altogether now girls, smile and say cheed

Medina Wrens
Wrens line up in their gas masks.
THE efforts of the cellar-dweller on this page notwithstanding, it’s not often I open the CP and have a good chuckle.My thanks, therefore, to the sub-editor who chose to enhance the Looking Back feature a couple of weeks ago by publishing this picture of Wrens wearing gas masks.

As the caption suggested, it looked like a group shot of Doctor Who extras and one can imagine the excited chatter behind the masks as the ladies prepared for their big photograph all those years ago.

'Obb nub dob gus doo lah?’

'Ooh gess! Muh tob gah flo tib.’

It must have sounded like Bill and Ben on speed.

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