I bought some of your delicious juice this week as I have a bladder infection. After buying your juice in a shop I brought it home in my Mercedes Benz. So far so good. I then unloaded the car and carried the bags into the kitchen and started to put things away breaking only to urinate.
The last thing in the bag was a carton of Ocean Spray (you lot) cranberry juice.
Mmmm, juice! I thought.
It was now I noticed you decided to put a new thing what you drink through on top. I don’t know the technical name. The plastic hole you open. So I noticed it was a new design. Cool, I thought. This will no doubt make my life easier, I continued to thoughten.
Then things went very wrong. You see I could not open the carton. It appeared to be a flip switch situation I needed to master to release the juice. It looked simple and yet I was struggling. Do I have brain damage?? I asked the room. Eventually I stuck my finger into where the hole should be to open it as it was impossible to get enough leverage with the little plastic lever.
Maybe I fucked up, I thought. I often do. But at least it was now open and I was thirsty for that bitter dry horrible taste of cranberries. I knew what I had to do. I had to lift the carton to my mouth and pour some in, I had done this many times in the past with cartons of juice from many different manufacturers. Del Monte, Um Bongo, etc.
So I lifted it to my mouth and began to pour and the cranberry juice went everywhere but by mouth. The carton was behaving like a cartoon cowboy who had been shot repeatedly.
Hmmmm, I thought, covered in cranberry juice. What happened there then?
I tried again with the same result.
I looked at the carton, it was all open and everything. I hadn’t broken it or anything. Somebody had designed this thing I realized. A carton of juice from which you cannot drink.
I tried again with a second carton to make sure it was not an aberration. So I opened it, eventually, and poured it all over my face.
These are some of the words I said. I said F*ck! a few times. I also said B*ll*ks and cocksu*ker.
So, let me get this straight. You’ve had this carton opening system that has worked perfectly for time inmemorandium and yet that wasn’t enough for you — you’ve paid some guy to come up with a carton that is difficult to open and impossible to drink from?
Bravo, that takes some balls. You guys must be very confident in the quality of your cranberry juice. That’s sarcasm. I am not impressed and as soon as it stops hurting when I urinate I will stop buying your juice and you can blame that clown in your package design department.
Mind you, I guess it’s a good thing he’s not designing aeroplanes, he’d probably think it was a groovy idea to make the wings out of potatoes or something equally as moronic. Good day to you sir, never darken my door again. I do not expect you to pay for the dry cleaning cost incurred by me pouring cranberry juice all over myself but I would accept an apology and the name and address of the man who designed to package so I may go and superglue his doors shut.
Please respond post-haste.
Yours severely unimpressedly
Dr James Barker
How is all with you
I am a Nigerian fraudster and I would just like to congratualte you people on your very fantastic internet website. It is amazing that you are operating legal in uk! In Nigeria police shoot you in legs if you try to scam so openly as you do you have blongs this big (roars with laughter)SERIOUS
My favourite bit of webiste is all hidden charges!
Every click adds more money for your pockets. You have bag it cost a lot of money. NO BAG OPTION INVISIBLE a seat (who fucking does not want to sit on a seat when flying in a plane) MORE MONEY FOR SEAT. I had managed to somehow try every option and I find one without charges (VEYR WELL HIDDEN I CONGRATULATE) I ge to end of website and am about to pay price quoted!!
FUCK SHIT WHAT IS ELECTRON CARD::
Every payment option incurs very massive hidden costs except an electron card whatever that is I HAVE NOT ONE>
So I’ll tell you what, stick you AIRLINE up your MAHFUTO and I fucking go by BA instead as they don’t hide costs quite like you DIRTY GRADUDOGS
Dr James Barker phd.I will get rich, buy your ailrline and build hotel on it AND CHARGE YOU RENT.REPOLY OR I AM GOING TO WATCH THE DOG
To: Customer Services
Subject: Extraordinary People! Monday 23 October 9pm
I’ve never written to a TV Channel before but tonight’s Extraordinary People has made me rethink my whole TV watching feedback strategy!
It was the one about twins. Dying twins no less, pretty sad stuff I’m sure you’ll agree. But what I am writing to congratulate you on is your decision to have the English woman in this show who was talking about her trauma to wear a black frock and have her sitting in front of a bunch of flowers in what was obviously meant to look like a funeral parlour. She was talking about this illness that kills babies after all! Where else would she be sitting?
So, she’s talking about her babies in the past tense and sitting in a funeral parlour and crying occasionally. Boo hoo. So my wife goes, “Those kids are dead”, and she’s rightly quite sad for this woman who is being forced to recount this event for the TV.
I’m more media savvy though. “No way, man, this is just a pretty sick trick this TV company are using to keep you interested. I bet you a pound the kids appear at the end!”
She’s going “No Way, why would they do that? Are they imbeciles?”
I go “Yes, these TV companies are pretty fucked up (excuse my french) and will do anything to make their shows more memorable. Even shows about ill and dying foetuses (foetusi?)!”
So it gets to the last couple of minutes of the show and she’s still sitting in a funeral parlour crying and I’m beginning to doubt myself. Maybe the kids did die, you know, like the American’s ones did earlier in the show. It’s certainly looking that way. And I’m thinking maybe I’m wrong about you guys. Maybe you haven’t jazzed up this tragic subject.
Maybe you guys are actually oka…
There they are! The kids you’d for some reason tried to make us think were dead! They’re actually completely fine! Laugh out loud! I was right!
Thank you, Channel Five, thank you for this… I don’t even know what you’d call it!
Shittiness? That’ll do! Thank you for this shittiness!
Anyway, keep up the work! I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next.
Jamie Barker esq
Thank you for your recent enquiry regarding Extraordinary People: The Twin Within The Twin and please allow us to apologise for the delay in responding.
Monday’s documentary was on the subject of twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Sharon was the English contributor on the programme who spoke throughout about her experience with this syndrome, not once during her pieces to camera did we insinuate that her children had died. With regards to the fact that you felt she was filmed in a funeral home, again not once was this suggested by the producers. The fact that she was dressed in black and had a bunch of flowers behind her does not indicate that she was in a funeral home, she could have been anywhere. In fact, on the two other occasions Sharon was filmed with her husband, she was also wearing black, which would suggest this is her preferred colour more than anything.
Finally, three quarters into her recollections of the experience, she did state that she had been told that the twins were recovering in the womb, as we went into the final part it was clear that the babies had survived.
We have logged your comments in the Viewer Enquiries Report, which is circulated throughout the company. Also, your complaint will be noted in the quarterly report to our regulator. Commercial television is regulated in the UK by Ofcom (the Office of Communications).
If there is anything further we can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for your interest in Five.
Dear SirI am sure I speak for all islanders when I say that we are immensely proud of our zoo and the wonderful work it does in the world of conservation. This is why it’s so sad to see it in financial difficulties. However, and it pains me to say this, it’s not very surprising if we’re honest. For you see our wonderful zoo is actually — oh don’t make me say it — it is actually a pretty boring and very expensive place to visit. The last time I took my children there they were extremely taken with the standard issue dickie birds and seagulls which hung around the tables of the world’s most expensive cafe. They weren’t so taken with the exotic birds hidden behind foliage in their cages.It’s difficult to explain to a young child why a bird hidden in a cage rather than a seagull stealing your hotdog is more impressive but that’s where we are. My pleas to stop looking at the free birds fell on deaf ears and so they’d huff and we’d squint into the cages and say things like “What’s supposed to be in here?”I’m not advocating emus and elephants that you can actually feed with popcorn out of your hands like you can in that awesome zoo in France — I’m well aware that’s just a ruse so that we pay to fatten them up so the French can eat them but how about a petting zoo? With goats and things. Or a few totally awesome animals? Like penguins? I appreciate they’re not endangered but come on, everybody loves penguins and at least you can see them, not like the Aye Aye which, let’s face it, probably doesn’t even exist. Get a tiger or a killer whale and it can be a sort of loss leader. I do appreciate that the zoo is in a very difficult situation as conservation done right is by definition a pretty poor spectator sport, but again I think I speak for the people of the island when I say we really want to visit the Zoo more regularly, just give is a reason to do so because paying a large amount of money to see animals we can’t see and others that don’t do anything just isn’t cutting it.
I READ Mr Barker’s letter (JEP, 21 January) with absolute abhorrence. In fact I had to read it twice in order to reinforce my disbelief as to what I had just read.Durrell Wildlife may be ‘boring’ to Mr Barker, but clearly he hasn’t grasped the actual mission for which Durrell exists. Frankly, it’s an insult to the legacy of Gerald Durrell and the organisation today.Durrell Wildlife is a conservation trust and it is this key fact I think Mr Barker may have omitted from his letter or indeed ‘idea’. The organisation clearly has no agenda which includes the likes of ‘petting farms’ when it is working towards saving animals around the world from extinction.Mr Barker has also omitted that the true cost of visiting Durrell for a named person and any guest, 364 days a year, is just £5.42 a month. Such a sum requires no budgeting plan nor capital expenses programme.Fundamentally, Durrell has the admiration of Islanders and people from all corners of the globe, not because of its new feature penguins (I hope Mr Barker is using sarcasm when proposing such an idea) but because it has changed the world we live in and achieved amazing globally pioneering results in its captive breeding programmes.Perhaps next time Mr Barker will read the information displayed around the park in the course of his visit. He seems to have missed the point so to speak.Well done to those who are members of Durrell. Luckily that means a lot of animals we see now we’ll still be able to see in the future, as will our children.
Dear SirJudging by the reaction to my letter it seems I was incorrect in my suggestion that the Zoo — sorry, The Wildlife Conservation Trust — was an expensive and boring place to visit. That would explain why it’s doing so well! That was sarcasm, people. It’s not doing well, because it’s an expensive and boring place to visit, in many people’s eyes at any rate. As I said we are all very proud of our Durrell and the fantastic work it does, but the fact is, and try as you might, you can’t ‘guilt’ people into going somewhere they don’t want to go. That’s why the, “shame people only visit when it’s free” spiel won’t work, I mean that’s the reverse psychology you use on children to get them to eat horrible food. It’s not about money. It’s about a visitor attraction without enough visitors or attractions, or perhaps they don’t want visitors anymore? So they can concentrate on conservation? Don’t get me wrong it’s wonderful that some people, like some of your angrier readers, seem to love visiting the place as it is but the fact is there are more who don’t. And it’s all very well burying your head in the sand like one of those big bird things and saying the problem is with the people too mean to pay to visit, but how does that help anybody? You can’t blame people who don’t want to visit your establishment for the lack of visitors. Better surely to ask why do we not want to visit the place even though we’re all rolling in money and at a loss for things to do at the weekend? I’ll give you a clue, we’re not not visiting Durrell because it’s so very awesome and wonderful value for money and it’s not because we want to see animals become extinct. I love all animals except for our cat and, again, we’re proud of what the, erm — why can’t you call it a zoo anymore? short for zoological park? Because they rebranded it? — we’re proud of what they do. We would all love to visit it more which in turn would help save endangered species and like it or not the best way to get us there is with awesome animals such as hippos or chimps, not with those things that are basically just horses. Before I go, to end on a positive note, I must just ‘big up’ the meerkats, those little guys are totally awesome, they’re a step in the right direction. A few more exciting animals like that and I’ll be ripping the gates off the place to get in!yours sincerely
From N**** G****** managing director, The Boat House Group.
Let’s all help to boost this wonderful facility
I AM writing in response to the letters from S****C***** and C*****B***** (JEP, 25 and 26 January respectively) who have quite rightly come forward in defence of our wonderful Wildlife Conservation Trust Durrell, after the ill-considered comments in Mr Barker’s letter (JEP, 21 January).
I would like to add to their suggestions, as I believe it is not just down to individuals to help keep Durrell going, but also down to local businesses.
For many local businesses, 2009 was a hard year and, in consequence, Durrell and other charities were affected by loss of corporate sponsorship.
However, I hope that 2010 might be the year when we can all become a little innovative with our sponsorships and still give Durrell the support it needs.
I totally agree with C****B*****’s notion of everyone ‘giving something small but producing something big’. Even if local businesses did only one fundraising activity, this could really make a difference.
The Boat House Group have recently opened The Tree House restaurant at La Marquanderie Inn, St Brelade, and we have started a fundraising scheme for Durrell there by donating 50p from every order of our vegetarian pizza Giardiniera to the charity.
All these small actions really do add up. I was saddened to see Durrell announce that they were experiencing financial difficulties and I hope that we can all make an effort to give a boost to this wonderful facility.
Dear SirI would like to thank N**** G*****, Managing Director of The Boat House Group, for his inspiring letter in which, after having a pop at me, he informs us that fifty pence will go to Durrell for each of his terrific vegetarian ‘Giardiniera’ pizzas he sells at the newly refurbished restaurant, The Tree House, La Marquanderie Inn, St Brelade. Those fifty pences will soon add up. However I would also ask, and I’m sure he’ll do it, in-keeping with the spirit of his letter, that he also donate whatever the going rate is for an advert for a restaurant to be placed in the JEP, as most of his letter reads like one. Perhaps he could donate the cost of two adverts as this letter also serves as an advert for his fantastic new restaurant and its benevolent vegetarian pizza pie.Yours sincerely
Dear Dr Oetker
First may I just say that I am also a doctor — not that I expect special treatment — I do expect treatment though so let me tell you about the disappointing events of this evening. Today I purchased one of your Pizza Ristorante Mozzarella pizza pies. I bought it over an Italian brand because I would rather all my products were made by efficient Germans rather than lazy Italians. It would seem I made the wrong choice. You see after the pizza was cooked I entered the kitchen to oversee its preparation. My wife had cut the pizza up into triangles as is the way with these things but it didn’t look right. “That doesn’t look right,” I told my wife and assembled the pizza back into a tight circle. What I was left with can only be described as PacMan. Something was amiss with the pizza. I asked my wife if she had eaten any even though I knew she had not as I have imposed a Palaeolithic diet on her so that she loses weight — this means no bread, cheese etc. The pizza was for our children. My wife assured me it was like that when she removed it from the packaging. I asked her why she had not called me in as soon as she had opened the packaging and she said she knew I would make a big deal about it and it would ruin her night and she didn’t want to make a fuss. Well I’m afraid I am prepared to make a fuss despite her begging me not to send this email.
As I have said I am saddened to be literally compelled to complain to you even if all it means is that nobody need go through the trials that we have this evening. If you think that financial compensation is in order then I am fine with that. The least I want is a full apology. The pizza cost £2.79 from the Waitrose at Red Houses. I would say about a good 16th of the pizza was missing. The children have since eaten the rest but I still have the packaging and I shall keep it in storage. I do not know if you just want to send me the cost of a 16th of a pizza or considerably more for my distress. I’m not out for personal gain although I know a colleague who complained about some pans and got a whole set of pans for free, he didn’t have to pay anything. A whole set.
Please see that Dr Oetker himself gets to read this email as it’s his good name that is being besmirched through the mud by at best incompetent and at worst dishonest pizza makers in his employ.
Dr James Barker
As we know a lot of our attractions on this Island we call Jersey are pretty dull, the Zoo for example. so I would like to bring attention to your readers a new activity that some of you, the deaf and blind and police, may have missed. I am of course talking about the sport of EXTREME NOISE SPEED ROCKET MOTORCYCLING that is sweeping the island like a pyramid scheme. If you’ve ever seen a middle-aged man squeezed into leathers and sat astride an incredibly powerful motorbike and wondered ‘what’s the point of that?’ Then get down to a fairly straight road away from known speed check spots and get ready to have your senses smashed. It really is terribly exciting. I urge everybody to get to St Brelade — Saturday’s the best day — and cheer on our very own TTers as they try to break the sound barrier. It’s free, it’s noisy as hell, incredibly dangerous and it seems to be completely legal.
Dear Angela Rippon,
May I first start by saying I am a massive fan of your work. I loved it when you danced with Morcambe and Wise. I cheered with delight when that light-bulb exploded in your face on live TV — the way you just carried on was an absolute master-class in news-reading and I laughed like a drain when you lived next door to Felicity Kendall and the man who wore that jumper in The Good Life. “Jerry! Stop messing around!” You would always say. I hope you are still alive and are reading this but please do not think I am lying about being a big fan in order to curry favour. National Treasure is not a term I bandy about but for you it is apt.
Recently I have very much enjoyed your stint as presenter of Cash in the Attic, my absolute favourite show after Storm Chasers and Whale Wars. What impressed me most was your ability to brow-beat old people into parting with their treasured memories — often only netting them a couple of pounds in return! It’s a great truism though, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU. And that is why I am writing.
I see from contacting the BBC that they are no longer making Cash in the Attic. I could not believe it when they told me although yes I could believe it — those bloody idiots, excuse my French, they don’t know what they’re doing.
The lunchtime TV viewing public’s loss could just be my gain as I am assuming that means you are now available for work and I hope to be in the position to answer to all of your prayers. A bit of background — I have recently become friendly with a very old woman who lives alone in an absolutely massive house. I’m 99% certain she has no contact with anybody. I haven’t been able to get inside yet but I’m pretty sure the house will be packed with national treasures. Obviously I can’t just turn up on my own and start appraising her stuff but with you in tow everything changes.
Imagine, I knock on her door, Gertrude answers and she says “Ah my good friend Jamie!” (me) And I say, “Look who’s with me!” and she goes, “It’s Angela Rippon!” and you go “I’m Angela Rippon!” (you) and my wife will be there with a video camera and she will let us in and have a good root around. When we find things that are valuable we will split the profits three ways — Gertrude, me her friend, and you Angela Rippon. You may actually get a bit extra to cover your travel expenses. If she starts grumbling about selling things I may need you to do your ‘You can’t take it with you’ shtick and really lay it on thick but we have to be quick.
I have worked out the woman’s age to be approximately 90 so we really need to get a wiggle on and if you could respond by return email I can book you a flight. We’re in Jersey. Gilbert O’Sullivan lives here too although I don’t know him personally. His house is bigger than Gertrude’s but I suppose he has family. We’ll think about that when you get here.
I look forward to hearing from by return email.
I was enormously excited to see the massive advert in your newspaper for ‘private and confidential portraits’ and I must agree, as the advert proclaims, it surely is the ideal gift for the man who has everything. I see the photographer in question is only asking 55 notes for a 10×8, not too bad but I can beat that. I will pay £60 to take photos of scantily clad women. My printer only prints out A4 black and white pictures but it’s run out of ink. Make that £70.
£80 — take it or leave it.
My complaint is thus. James Corden is a shit mouse. I don’t know why you’re using the guy, perhaps he’s on a retainer, whatever, the guy just isn’t the mouse in The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child. The mouse in question — as you would know if any of you had bothered to read the books — is a total hard-ass and not a snivelling shit. When the mouse is in the woods he is totally fucking with all the other animals. He’s not scared of them. If he was scared of them why would he be out there wandering about? He wouldn’t be. It makes no sense The mouse comes out with the sole intention of messing with the heads of the other animals. He’s all “COME AT ME BRO” and then he make mincemeat of them with his superior brain power. A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good. “Where are you going to, little brown mouse? Come and have lunch in my underground house.” “It’s terribly kind of you, Fox, but no — Does that sound like a mouse who’s shitting its pant? Fuck no. The Gruffalo’s Child is just as fearless. The only thing it’s scared of is the fucking mouse! The very mouse Mr Corden portrayed as being a fucking idiot in the Gruffalo. Half of me wants to see how badly you fuck it up this time, the other half wants to see it done justice to. Sack Corden and get Christopher Walken to play the mouse. There is 6 days until it airs, plenty of time redub the whole thing. I think that Bobcat Goldthwait should be the Gruffalo’s Child.
Channel Four Weather
I am writing to you from beyond the grave because I’m dead. I died just now because I went out unprepared for the mental weather we’re having. It is gale force 8 out but I didn’t know even though I have Channel 4 and watched the weather report. You’re all probably scratching your big empty heads now, all confused. I watched the weather so I should be apples, right? The weather report should have given me an accurate idea as to what the weather was doing in my part of Britain, right? WRONG! I couldn’t see the fucking weather in the Channel Islands because somebody in your organisation — let’s call him The Brains — saw fit to put the words TODAY and WEDNESDAY all over the English Channel. Nice one you bunch of pillocks. I don’t really care, I’m not really dead and I steer clear of your stinking channel. I only put the news on because I had 3 minutes before Masterchef The Professionals came on. Now BBC2, that’s a channel not run by morans. I’ve had enough. Please reply to my complaint or I will take it further. That’s not a threat, it’s a promise. And also a threat.
ps. Actually I’ve been really enjoying that Amish show.
Dear Mr Barker,
Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries regarding CHANNEL 4 WEATHER. We are sorry to hear that you were unhappy with last night’s weather report as the Channel Islands were obscured on the screen. Please be assured your complaint has been logged and noted for the information of those responsible for our programming. Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate all feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise. Regards, Angie Young Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries
Thanks for the reply but I don’t think I asked for my complaint to be logged. Now listen up, cupcake, perhaps you could put your boss on so we get to the bottom of this. After all I emailed the organ grinder, not his secretary. And no offence love, but I guess the only thing you need to know about the weather is if it’ll blow your hair-do around a bit. Me and your boss and other guys actually have to deal with the elements, chopping wood, kayaking etc, so knowing the weather forecast is actually pretty important to us. So pass this on, yeah? I want the error corrected FROM TODAY not just logged and I want all subsequent weather reports to include the Channel Islands. Here’s a mad idea for you to pass on, put the DAY caption over THE SEA where nobody lives, not over Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark which are experiencing really mental storms at the moment. Nigel Mansell (look him up) lives near me. And Gilbert O’Sullivan. I know it’s Channel 4’s remit to offend but you have taken the biscuit too far this time. Try and get this done instead of eating maltesers all afternoon.
Love, Jamie Barker
Dear Mr Barker,
Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries. Whilst we appreciate your annoyance at this, the tone of your mail is not one we feel we can respond further to.
Regards, Henry Jones
Henry, Bro, come on!
What’s with the attitude? Atti-Dude, I make no apologies for the tone of my email which was nothing but 100% macho man. I know that’s probably not cool in your world of media luvvies but it’s people like me who make the world go around. Sure you have your Kevin McCloud prancing around on building sites but it’s Regular Joes like me who actually do all the work. So why don’t you be honest for a second and embrace the essence of MAN. I’m telling you, you’ll have a better chance with Ang at the Christmas party if you were a little less like you and a lot more like me. So quit the mewling and step up to the plate. Worth noting the tone of my letter GOT THE JOB DONE. Last night there was a big zoom in on the Channel Islands, you think that would have happened if I was all ‘Oh sorry Mr Channel 4, please I’m a little mouse squeak squeak’. No way Bro. You’re Vinny from Jersey Shore and I’m Pauly D.
Peace Out Yo
The Weather Centre
I am writing about your telly show MASTERCHEF. I have numerous complaints which I demand are addressed by the show’s maker.
1) Why can’t Greg, the bald one, eat properly? That’s pretty much all he has to do. He just has to eat and he’s not very good at that. He has to lean over with a hanky to catch any bits that he can’t get into his gob. How difficult is it to put food in your mouth if your job, no doubt highly paid, is to put food in your gob. Greg need only look to his mate John to see how to eat. John never drops any. He confidently gets fork full after fork full into his face.
2) John often looks totally sozzled in the second half of the show. I think he’s on the sauce (not béchamel!) at lunch
3) The professional kitchen bit is stupid, I don’t like it. I make a cup of tea then “Oh so and so after a bad start is finally getting out dish after dish of blah blah, who cares?”
4) On the Thursday show why eliminate somebody before letting them cook? That’s insane. Have you only got four cookers or something?? Stop that, let them all cook.
5) In the Thursday show they do flashbacks to the week’s episodes. These are done with a strange grey filter for some reason. I guess so we know it’s a flashback. You know, because we’re really stupid. No, YOU are stupid. Food filmed with a grey filter looks disgusting. So the voice over is talking about how somebody wowed Greg and John with what looks like a dishcloth and some paste and my dead dad’s underpants. Come on, people, this isn’t rocket science.
6) When the winner of each show is announced it is always ALWAYS the penultimate person the camera shows. For example, let’s say Sharon won. The camera would pan, in the tense bit before they say to winner, from Barry, to Sharon, then to Duncan. There is then a wide shot of everybody. Sharon has won. We know because she had the penultimate close-up and you have used this system for the last five years. Try and mix it up a bit.
Apart from that I fucking LOVE the show. How about doing a WHERE ARE THEY NOW on past winners?
It was Dusty Springsteen who so memorably sang, “there’s something happening here in the USA where I was born.” He wasn’t sure what was happening and now I feel like him and I are in the same boat bobbing along on a sea of confusion. I have been witness to many bizarre things in my life on this Island but lately I’ve encountered a phenomenon that would have The Blair Witch himself scuttling back to his house in St Ouen and double bolting the door. I am of course talking about small black bags filled with animal poop which are popping up like franchised noodle bars. Who is… why? Why would this happen? I have a dog. I know picking up dog poop isn’t as much fun as it sounds. Especially when the animal has thoughtlessly done it on pine-needles which can easily penetrate the bags, or on long things — eg sticks — so that the old ‘inside-out reverse nappy bag trick’ doesn’t quite come off. And sure if he goes off through the undergrowth I’m not going to follow him, looking for his leavings, like a desperate Bear Grylls. I’ll just look around casually and make sure no busybody is watching and congratulate the dog upon his return for the successful completion of his undercover assignment. What I won’t do, what it’s never occurred to me to do is to pick up the do-do, tie it off in a bag and then put it on the floor and wander off. Who genuinely thinks that is a good idea and a help to anybody? Tying up a poop in a bag and just leaving it? What do they think is going to happen to it? The Poo Fairy comes and gets it later? I mean, picking up the poo initially is the worst bit, feeling that hellish warmth through the thin plastic bag is as bad as it gets. If the stench persists double bag it. You complete that and it gets easier. From there it’s just a matter of holding onto the bag. That’s easy. I know it’s easy because rarely are nice things found strewn around the sand dunes. People don’t drop their wallets or Xboxes so I don’t think they’re just dropping these bags by accident. I think there’s more to it and it needs investigating by our underutilised police force and fire brigade. The simple fact is these people who enjoy picking up dog mess but don’t like carrying it could be your work colleague or teacher or perhaps even a person who works in a bank. They need rooting out. Naming and shaming. For my part, as mentioned, I’ve noticed that the perps (perpetrators) use the black variety of small nappy sack. Personally I and many others use the apricot coloured scented bag, so that narrows it down a fair bit. Do you know somebody who goes out with a pocket full of black nappy sacks and a bloated animal only to return sometime later with a smug face but a guilty heart? Please, do the right thing, grass them up before curiosity gets the better of some poor soul, a visitor not used to our ways perhaps, who decides to open one up.
Recently me and my wife spent a few weeks in London where we visited a Japanese themed restaurant named Wagamamas. I must say the food was wonderful and whilst whale wasn’t on the menu I am sure that had it been it would have been delicious too. From my dealing with Japanese so far I will attest that that do not eat things that aren’t absolutely delicious so it pains me to see the Sea Shepherd Terrorist Organisation are visiting our beautiful island trying to stop the Japanese from eating all those sumptious whales. Well I would say this to them and their captain Paul Watson — Leave the Japanese alone. We let these people ban whaling and then what will they do with all their ships? What will they decide we can’t eat next? Ormers whatever they are? Scallops? Jersey Wonders? It’s political correctness gone mad. It’s not the fault of the Japanese people that we feel guilty because we’ve already eaten all our large animals. They eat whales. They, being a dessert hating race, probably find it abhorrent that we eat Vienettas but I don’t see any protests in Waitrose. Finally and perhaps most importantly some hard science — whales eat plankton, plankton eats more Co2 than all world’s rain forests. By saving the whale we would almost certainly be speeding up our own demise and the irony is in such a situation whales wouldn’t lift a finger to save us.
This is a triple bill. You should have stopped reading back at the Zoo one.
Our elected officials get a fair bit of stick but on this particular hot potato I must say I am four square behind them. I am of course talking about the latest and best attempt to rid our beautiful island of those damn bicycles that plague the place — they were probably invented by Germans don’t you know, no surprise there then! I was slightly concerned that recently there weren’t as many letters published in your fine publication calling for number plates to be fitted to bicycles, I guess that idea was a bit too stupid to be even believable and I feared that perhaps we’d come to tolerate the blasted things, I shouldn’t have worried. Make wearing helmets compulsory! Chapeau! I love it! It’s so deliciously obvious and it’s almost even plausible, I mean, it’s like we’re doing them a favour. Now Johnny Two-Wheels will think twice before hopping on his Devil Whizzo to go to the shops for whatever it is those people buy. And you know how they ride to the shops, all on the pavement and jumping red lights and doing wheelies and ending up in hospital and killing pedestrians or themselves and swearing and costing us money and… and… oh I am so angry. Thank our lucky stars there are people in a position to do something about these important issues. Let us not rest until the only pedals pressed by legs on our fair isle are the accelerator and brake ones in our BMWs. And while I’m here, if somebody out there would do something about those flipping smug idiots who walk around on their legs, crossing roads all smug with their special pedestrian crossings, paid for no doubt with my money, then I would definitely be first in line to sign a petition… or maybe make it compulsory for them to wear elbow and knee pads, that should get them down to Jacksons and on this one I can speak from bitter personal experience, my dear old mother once fell over when walking. She totally cracked her monkey tail.
Further to the bicycling helmets debate it must be pointed out that the act of cycling is inherently safe. If you’ve ever let go of a riderless bicycle on a hill you can see that the blessed things keep themselves upright all on there own, thanks to gyroscopical magic in the wheels. They will stay upright until something rams into it or to put it another way, bicycles don’t injure cyclists who are not wearing helmets, mostly cars driven by bad drivers do. Now I will admit I am what you might call a cyclist and have been for many years. My father when he would see a cyclist used to comment, “Poor fella must’ve lost his licence” he couldn’t understand somebody might cycle through choice, but I do. This is not a rant against motorists, for I am one of those too! Yes I am also a car driver, I have a dirty big truck so I have seen the appalling standard of driving displayed by many on this Island from both sides of the windscreen, and the reason I’d be very wary of letting my boys cycle on the roads when they get bigger is not because I’m worried they might tumble from their bicycles and hurt themselves on the tarmac, although that is a concern. I’m worried they’ll get crushed by a person grateful as I was that the driving test in Jersey was so easy to pass. You know the type of driver. The driver who thinks you have to filter-in-turn at the Hamburger and so launches a banzai attack down the inside lane to get in front of you even though they were half a mile behind and there was no other traffic when the lanes began to converge. The ones that think the act of turning on their indicators supersedes looking with their eyes and gives them free reign to weave from lane to lane “Get outta my way, my indicators are on!”
A lot of Jersey drivers seem to think overtaking a cyclist when there’s a oncoming vehicle is the correct thing to do but it’s not. You don’t do that. The fact that it’s just about possible to do it, only grazing the handlebars of the bike you’re passing or the wing mirrors of the oncoming car doesn’t mean you’ve done some good driving, it’s bad driving. Likewise overtaking a cyclist only to brake and turn off right in front of them? What’s that about? That’s really bad driving. It’s a lack of awareness and it’s going to hurt somebody. So, in conclusion, I have nothing against helmets. I wear one sometimes. It’s commonsense that they should be worn when necessary, all the time by children, but it should not be law. Cycling is a safe way to travel made into an act of pure kamikaze by the low standard of vehicular control shown by too many, and until that’s tackled it doesn’t seem fair to burden the innocent parties — the cyclists — with legislation.
I would like to reply to Chris Pearson who wrote in to your paper all furious at seeing two cyclists riding two abreast up a hill of all places. He points out that he pays his road tax and for some reason he even tells us he pays his car insurance and wonders what the situation is there. Well, this is the situation — It doesn’t matter if it’s one, two or, heck, even a whole stunt pyramid of cyclists going up a hill because you’re not supposed to overtake if there’s oncoming traffic. Of course I am aware that most motorists don’t follow this simple rule and will overtake a cyclist if it looks like there’s just about enough room between cyclist and the oncoming juggernaut. But this is bad driving so as long as you’re not trying to crush past there’s no issue. If there’s no oncoming traffic overtaking two cyclists is as easy as overtaking one. After all one fat one could easily be the width of two thin ones. So if the road ahead is clear, no problem! If there’s oncoming traffic don’t overtake! I suspect the situation Chris experienced was him driving up a twisty hill such as Mont Les Vaux, a car full of kids, a bit late for school with two cyclists in front of him and Chris, due to the nature of the hill, was unable to see if there was oncoming traffic. In this situation don’t overtake. Simply wait until the next safe opportunity, the straight bit near the top for example, and spend the time gripping the steering wheel tighter and composing an angry letter in your head or better still just relax. As for him being spat at, well that’s inexcusable. However to avoid this in future simply do what I do and don’t shout stupid things at cyclists going uphill, they’ll probably be all out of breath, sweating and not that receptive your pearl of wisdom. At the end of the day they’re unlikely to have held you up by more than a minute or so. That’s sixty whole seconds. one hundred and twenty at the most. I’ll wager Chris wasted more time writing his letter than the total time spent behind those blasted belligerent bicyclists.
I would like to relate a incident which happened to me last week which left me perturbed, very perturbed indeed. I was driving along in my car down by Beaumont and it was hot so I had the window down, elbow out, you know how it is. I was relaxed and I saw a fellow motorist waiting to pull out from a side road. I was so relaxed and in no particular hurry so I decided to slow my vehicle and let the person out. After I did I was naturally expecting a big wave from this person. A great big thank you wave. They were right in front of me. They were sure to wave. I waited for them to wave. They had straightened their vehicle and by rights they should be waving. I squinted to see what was wrong with the person and to my horror I noticed they had activated their hazard lights. I screamed and applied maximum pressure to my brake pedal causing my car to judder to a halt. I heard skidding from behind as a lorry managed to stop millimetres away from my rear bumper but the car which I had let out continued on its way. The lorry driver was very unhappy and when I told him what happened he let go of my lapels and informed me that this was now how people thanked each other when driving. I thought he was joking as I thought only buses did that because you can’t see the bus driver. The person I let out was in a little car and I could see them clearly. But I’ve noticed it since. I blame the Internet and people unable to express their emotions without pressing buttons like on facebook. Come on, that’s not the Jersey way. Hazard lights are not a means of thanking somebody. They’re for warning of a hazard. Let’s go back to a more open time when courteous driving was met with a wave, a salute, a doffed cap, pretend gun hands firing out bullets of thanks or my personal favourite a big double thumbs up.