Keith stands guard to defend the anxious basement resident.
THE VIEW FROM HERE I AM typing this column through a haze of tears, a cambric hanky pressed to my nose and a glass of reviving cordial beside me.
Why so emotional? Well, Mr Newbery, who occupies the penthouse suite above my little basement and whom I have always regarded with considerable suspicion, what with his vulgar taste in shag-pile carpets and his awful nouveau-riche flagpole, has unexpectedly rushed to my defence and is even now encamped outside my door with his friends, determined to protect me against my adversaries.
He announced this gallant stand in his column last week, expressing fears for my safety on the entirely justified grounds there are certain burly councillors about, not to mention the henchmen of our previous terrifying Tory regime, whom I may have offended over the years and who may be seeking revenge.
"With all this in mind," he wrote, "Malc Lawrence, Grumpy Greening and I have been acting as silent sentinels outside the basement door."
So you can see why I’m overcome. It’s sweet of them and I’m truly touched. But as for actually feeling any safer, well, no, not really.
Mr Newbery and his two mates acting as "sentinels"? It’s as though I’d been assigned Lance-Corporal Jones and Privates Godfrey and Pike from Dad’s Army to look after me.
Yet despite their concern, there is, in fact, no need for panic. I can look after myself perfectly well.
I always have a hemlock-tipped pencil to hand, which I shall harpoon into any councillor or ex-councillor who comes near. However, I am very anxious about those sentinels. I admit there have been times when I have viewed Malc and Grumpy with a certain distaste. I have frequently shuddered at their coarse guffaws resounding through my ceiling, accompanied by the wafting odours of their distressingly boorish diet, apparently consisting of little more than hog pies and beer.
But since this latest development, I feel quite soppy about the poor old things.
Mr Newbery says they are armed with "walking sticks, flasks of Brown Windsor soup and tubes of Algipan".
This is not true. They arrived on my doorstep armed merely with several crates of ale and some old copies of Wisden, and are now very much the worse for wear, muddling up their batting statistics and stumbling over the empties. They won’t last the weekend at this rate.
Thanks so much, chaps, but please return to the penthouse at once. You are in no fit state to take on these councillors, let alone the latest threat to my safety, which comes in the form of an army of angry students and their parents.
Following a smallish joke I made recently about the inability of Island students to leap to the standards set by the Daily Telegraph in cliche-ridden pics of students celebrating their A-level results, there has been a reaction in certain quarters scarcely seen since Archduke Franz Ferdinand copped it. That caused a terrific hoo-ha and it’s much the same now.
The leaping issue has reached crisis proportions and I expect to see tanks rumbling into my basement at any moment.
Should I have to retreat before this humourless phalanx, I have the perfect place for my exile.
I shall go to Liberia. Nearly 25,000 students applied this year for entry to the University of Liberia. Every single one of them then proceeded to fail the admission exam.
University officials said the applicants, "lacked enthusiasm and did not have a basic grasp of English".
They sound right up my street. With their results, they won’t be leaping and their lack of enthusiasm for exams surely denotes a fun lot, who will enjoy a smallish joke without having a hissy fit.
Yes, life in Liberia will be just peachy.
Pondering a life beside the seaside
HAVING commented on the council’s boring choice of paint colour for the beach huts at Puckpool, I thought I might examine the exciting constructions which have appeared on the Duver, at Seaview.
Described by Seaview Developments as 14 "bespoke beach huts", each consists of a space where you can put your boat or car, above which is another space with little balconies front and rear, a teensy kitchen unit and more teensiness in the shower and loo fittings.
You are not allowed to stay overnight, the exclusion period lasting from 11pm until 8am.
According to the board outside, they cost £195,500, though the website quotes "from £199,500". I don’t know the correct figure (either way, it’s eye-watering) as Seaview Developments refuses to answer any of my queries.
It won’t tell me the exact price, it won’t tell me how many of them it’s sold and it certainly won’t give me a viewing appointment.
So we’ll just have to guess how many takers they’ve had for these huts.
Remember, for that money you could buy a nice house to sleep in and you wouldn’t have to be in Seaview.
Suggestions on a postcard, please, and we’ll get the developers to judge the winner.