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Friday, 25 July 2008

He aint hairy, he's my brother.....

The attached link is to news concerning my 'little' brother.

As you probably do'nt know, little bro is big in traffic. So big, in fact that he made the newspapers last year as a result of his decision to post roadsigns in Polish, as well as English, at a roundabout in Cheshire. Richard took this action in response to the immediate and severe hike in fatalities at the roundabout which occurred when a Polish road haulage company set up their UK training headquarters in the locality. Major Generals (or is it Majors General?) from Surrey immediately wrote to their newspapers to complain about "pandering to the Poles" and demanding that the raving commie who thought up the signs be decapitated and sent back to the lesbian leaning, probably Scandanavian, non-British country they came from - or words to that effect. Most of these people wrote to the Daily Mail, a Right (ie slightly to the Right of Gengis Khan) leaning daily tabloid rag, to be added to the list of newspapers never to be purchased or read in any Nickson household.

The result was that because the road signs now made clear(in the only language they could understand) to the newbie Polish drivers that roundabouts were not racetracks, fatalities at the roundabout returned to 'normal' (which in itself is a remarkable sentence, triggering in my mind all sorts of comments about the madness of road transport generally and how we accept warfare-compatible casualty statistics just to buy our groceries). In the meantime, Majors Generals from Slough were advised to vent their ire at the European Union whose rules allow the transport company to establish business in such ludicrous circumstances.

Returning to little brother, the department that he runs has now won two national awards for their work, and are rapidly becoming , dare I say it, the Manchester United of Traffic Departments nationwide. I am needless to say, disproportionately proud of little brother, and very satisfied with my role in his upbringing. The examples I set for him as a role model, the choices I have made, the lifestyle I have had : he's ignored all these completely and is consequently very successful.

Richard was telling me about his job once - being a Road Safety Engineer is not, we would all agree, one of the most glamourous professions, indeed it is almost the type of job that is parodied at times as being the epitome of dull civil servantness. The fact is though, that given our collective dependance on the motor vehicle, and the annual UK fatality and casualty figures (annual figures which exceed the death and casualty figures of the Second World War), the job is, I would argue, an essential and valuable one. Furthermore, Richard's day-to-day is not unexciting - in the last few weeks he's been involved in an on-line forum with MP's from the Houses Of Parliament, he talks regularly with colleagues across Europe, and he gets to talk to policemen as fellow professionals. Of all of these activities, talking to policemen must be the most exciting. The only time I have ever spoken to policemen, I have always felt either so guilty that I want to confess to shoplifting gobstoppers as a child(Canadians will have to ask me what these are), or, when I need their services (the recent spate of thefts at Large Villas for example) I become massively respectful and overuse the word 'Officer', such as :

"Oh! Hello Officer, thanks for coming Officer, sorry to be a nuisance - I mean I know you've got millions of criminal masterminds to catch and four cans of beer seems so trivial, Officer, I dont want to waste your officerly time, Officer, but theft is theft. Do you want a cup of tea, Officer?"

I envy Richard. He gets to call coppers 'John'.


JoeyMac said...

I have fond memories of gobstoppers, thank you very much. Maybe they were importewd from Scotland...

Grasshopper said...

Indeed! Canadians know VERY WELL what gobstoppers are! Sheeeeeeeesh!

MJN said...

In all the time I've known Canadians, this is the only time I have had two gang up on me, outraged, it appears by my suggestion that Gobstoppers are alien to Canadian culture.

I apologize truly, madly and deeply for this terrible slur on the culture of the True North Strong and Free, and do hereby proclaim to all and sundry that I will never again understate, or underestimate the national familiarity of all Canadians with cookies, biscuits, chocolate (including white chocolate bunnies with pink mouths), gummy bears, doughnuts, confectionary and associated baked goods, ever again.
(NOTE: Apology does not include Quebec).