THE VIEW FROM HERE BY far the most pleasing story in last week’s CP was the account of the farewell party given for East Cowes town council clerk Geoff Davies.
Such occasions would normally attain only the lowest ranks of the Funtime Party League, and this one looked set for sedate parochial politesse, with a few nibbles, kind words and everybody home in time for a nice mug of cocoa and an early night.
Geoff, described as a "long-standing council clerk", was to be presented with an engraved glass vase and a specially baked cake to mark his retirement.
Stay with me here. It gets better. Not just better, in fact, but super-gloriously shambolic, with Geoff throwing a hissy fit and storming out, leaving behind drop-jawed councillors and his lovely presies.
According to Geoff, he hadn’t retired at all. He had resigned. He said, forcibly by all accounts, his competence and integrity had been called into question during an IW Council ethical standards investigation into a complaint against Cllr Margaret Webster.
Council clerk in a mega-strop. A rejected and thus utterly useless engraved glass vase. Almost certainly several bowls of crisps going soggy after Geoff’s petulant departure, with shocked councillors, now bitterly regretting stumping up for the vase, losing their appetite for party snacks.
There are many delicious aspects to this story. But the best one of all is the cake.
It had, oh joy, been baked for Geoff by Cllr Margaret Webster herself. Just picture her, all floury hands and domestic cosiness, whisking and beating away, breathless with exertion, not to mention the thought of how Geoff would clap his little hands with happiness and give grateful thanks through a mouthful of sponge and jam, maybe dropping a few crumbs into his engraved glass vase ("Steady on there, Geoff!" the councillors would have chuckled).
It was not to be. We don’t know what eventually happened to Cllr Webster’s cake but it was the undoubted star of this brilliant story and almost certainly the last straw for Geoff.
Cruelly mocked by the fancy icing created by the very woman who had proved the nemesis in his town council career, no wonder he stormed off into the night, his clerkly breast all a-flutter as hellish visions of vases and cakes rose before him.
The IW is getting quite a reputation for turning ennui to excitement when it comes to parties.
Remember the notorious "hokey-cokey" incident last St Patrick’s Day, when a nice little church social turned into a fearsome rumpus, with immoderate dancing and furious parishioners?
Now we have havoc in East Cowes, largely detonated by Margaret’s cake.
Are you worried your own IW party may lack fizz? Here’s what to do.
Invite a long-serving council clerk. Or a priest in holy orders. Organise a hokey-cokey. Get Cllr Webster to bake a cake. I guarantee everything will go with a bang.
Post-Olympics effort is unlikely to last
NOW we have heaved ourselves off our sofas after all that non-stop Olympic telly, it is, it seems, time to get fit. I don’t want to dampen the current euphoria for all things sporty but a nation which has never been so happy as when it was sprawled for an entire fortnight gawping at the box, may be unsuited for any sudden exertion.I foresee an awful lot of wasted subscriptions for gym membership, just as there are in the post-Christmas period, when everyone’s resolve swiftly evaporates after a fortnight’s puffing around on treadmills and rowing machines.
Those fancy bikes bought in order to achieve the Bradley Wiggins effect will spend increasingly lengthy periods in the shed. By the time November sets in, more energy will be used in shaving off sideburns (which seemed such a good idea at the time) than in pedalling.
If everybody accepts reality, there is no reason we shouldn’t manage to go for a little walk from time to time. But let’s not get carried away by Olympic hysteria.
Boris Johnson, never one to miss an opportunity, has done exactly that by advocating schoolchildren do two hours of compulsory sport a day, a regime which he had much enjoyed. "It made me what I am."
Yes, Boris, that’s what’s so terrifying and a good as argument as any against two hours of compulsory sport a day.
Fine if you like that sort of thing and want to grow up to be like Boris. But you’re a child at risk from the mayor of London, if his charms escape you, you’re rubbish at sport and haven’t got any team spirit (and there’s nothing wrong in that — many of the greatest men and women in history have lacked team spirit) then you must resist his horrible suggestion with any strength you have left after all that sofa-sprawling.