A very grey day, quite windy but dry for the moment, although I suspect rain is not very far off, I can only see the second ridge through the gap, no cars destroyed during the night and no one about, people are either in church or in bed, apart from the dog walkers, there goes one now. She has two of those small dogs celebrities carry in their bags, the ones they hand off to a flunky as soon as the cameras disappear, anyway it has just pee'd on the tyre of a Vauxhall Corsa thus signalling to other dogs that it owns that car, it should have waited, there's a BMW just up the road.
What have the Roman's ever done for us? Well that thought leapt into my mind with one answer on Friday afternoon .... decent roads! I set off to pick my son up from Manchester Airport, I had got just about halfway and hit congestion, three lanes of it, it was also chock a block on the other side going North, the overhead signs flashed '40 mph' to taunt me as I was barely making 4. Once I did get on the motorway for the airport more signs told me to expect road works until 2017, and they did not mean just after quarter-past eight. They are converting that stretch to a 'smart motorway' this is a motorway that will end congestion by regulating the speed of traffic along it depending on how many cars are using it, and if it is too many they will sacrifice a new born child or goat or something to ease the flow. Forgive my cynicism but if the contract has been given to one of the usual IT firms the government refuses to sack despite the catalogue of failures, I suspect it will actually be a 'dumb motorway'.
Anyway things did not improve when I got home, standing in my living room was a young man from the National Grid, he had turned off our gas supply and banned us from having heat, cooking and hot water. A smell of gas outside the PO had been reported, he didn't find any, but then wanted to check our appliances, despite the fact he did not carry any equipment to check said appliances, needless to say he didn't find any gas leak, but he did decide that there was a danger of carbon-monoxide from the fire. Like a magician pulling a bunny from a hat he pulled this one on us, there is no smell from carbon-monoxide, our meter showed nil presence but he was 'erring on the side of caution'. He could have isolated the fire, but decided that the act of kneeling down and putting a screwdriver under the fire was too much for him and brushed it off as being inaccessible. He rather disingenuously likened my fire which was checked six months ago and is serviced regularly to something on a Greek island that had last been checked when Aristotle was a lad. My family had arrived after an 18 hour journey from S.Korea and there was no heat, warm water or hot food, oh, and no gas leak or carbon monoxide either.
I won't trouble you with the bother I had with the insurance, National Grid and so called 'emergency' service after 'Bob no we can't' left, suffice to say when a real gas fitter turned up the next day he said there was no leak and no carbon monoxide. I am patiently holding in a tsunami of rage until 9am tomorrow when the National Grid complaints line opens.
We have police who won't chase criminals if they are more than three feet off the ground, council workers who are 'trained' to use a ladder, otherwise they have to stay firmly rooted to terra firma and countless other maddening, ridiculous rules, how on earth did we ever run an Empire or defeat Hitler, we certainly couldn't do it now, by the time we filled out the paperwork, hugged each other and included everyone we would be singing "Deutschland Uber Alles".