Over the years, I’ve made regular references to my unhappy experiences on Spanish zebra crossings. Almost certainly too many, in fact. But this was in my capacity as a pedestrian, not as a driver. So you’ll forgive me for reporting that last night it was me who had to brake hard to avoid hitting someone. And not just once but twice. Fortunately, each time this happened I was driving slowly and so had time to stop. Plus I didn’t have my head turned sideways as I talked to one of my passengers. The first time was in a dark little square, when a couple walked out from behind one of the new electronic advertising hoardings that now litter our pavements. And the second was when a youth simply ran straight out from behind a parked van, at a speed which suggested he’d begun his run some metres from the roadside. Actually, I was reminded of a corrida and wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d stuck two bandelliras in my bonnet as he passed. Or my ‘hood’, as our American cousins call it. All’s well that ends well, of course. But wouldn’t it have been a tad ironic if I’d been arrested for hitting someone on a crossing?
As I have a daughter who’s a teacher in the UK, it’s always worrying to read how bad things are in the educational world there. As in the case of a teaching assistant who removed a disruptive child from a classroom, with the kid threatening to stab and kill him as he did so. When the boy’s mother complained, the teaching assistant was arrested and jailed for 22 hours. Then he was suspended from his job, forced by the social services to leave his house and barred from contact with this three children while he was taken through the courts. Needless to say, the poor man was eventually cleared of any offence and allowed to return to his job and family.
If you think this is sound enough evidence of the madness of British society, consider the case of the shop assistant who asked a purchaser of a greetings card if she was over 25 because there was a picture of a wine bottle and three glasses on the front of it. Or of the 15 year old boy who was denied wine gums by a shop assistant who felt this contravened the store’s regulations designed to reduce the curse of binge-drinking in the country.
Finally . . . My thanks to those readers and fellow bloggers who’ve written to advise that the ineffable Cade has initiated a blog dedicated to telling the world what a piece of mierda I am. Good luck to him, I say. There’s no such thing, others say, as bad publicity. Come to think of it, my special post above this one will presumably have given him something to get his fangs into. Though I’m sure I’ll be able to resist the temptation of checking this out.