WARD’S WORLD: By madcap inventor John Ward
I don’t really like to ‘let the cat out the bag’ as the saying goes, but I have heard a whisper that there could well be a General Election coming up soon as I scribble away.
Of course there may well be folk among us who have an appetite for signing their single first name autograph on small bits of paper and putting them through a slot in a dark looking box and wandering off for a few years to rest up until the next event and in between such events, have time to work out if their autograph was indeed placed alongside the ‘right’ name in that past particular electoral bun fight.
I can well appreciate you reading the above speculation about such an election as being fanciful as indeed it only seems about two years since the last effort, but I am given to believe this will be happening soon as it came from the same reliable source as hearing that there would not be a sequel to the cinema film ‘Titanic’ being made, so take it as 99 per cent certain that this will indeed be happening at a dark looking box with a slot in the top near you soon.
Perish the thought that I should in any way try to persuade you to place your autograph in a particular section of the ballot paper, so it’s safe to carry on reading unless you want to nip off and make a cup of tea or coffee to see you through the next few paragraphs and if this is the case I will hang on till you get back.
For those of you not wishing to make the above refreshments as outlined above, may I carry on but can you read this a bit s-l-o-w-e-r until our other reader gets back and catches up with us?
While we wait for said other reader, can I take this opportunity to mention that this year marks the 157th anniversary of the death of Harold Henry Flamingeck who it is believed was close to building the first known, British-made jet rocket propulsion unit or engine, but due to his workshop being blown up whilst he was working on this project, we will perhaps never really know for certain how far advanced he was.
His wife was distraught, it was said, as she had no idea what a jet rocket was and he only rented the workshop and had promised to paint it and all that was left was a large hole in the ground, set of spare keys to it (the workshop) and three gallons of brown coloured paint, two brushes plus a long handled paint roller.
However, his sudden and unexpected, possibly to him at least, departure also ushered in a new word in the English language that was uttered when something unexpected either erupted or exploded as to this day, people on seeing or hearing this phenomenon usually utter his name as in “Flamingeck” and usually followed by “Did you see/hear that?”
Ha! – our other reader is back now so I will continue.
We have come a long way in the electoral process as we are nowadays bombarded with countless promises, suggestions as to which party can deliver their pledges, promises and make good on those promises once elected.
Personally I also believe a man can fly unaided.
My mum, she of the people for the people, had quite a different outlook on the actual process or the canvassing side of things as I noted while growing up and the following was but one instance of such an encounter on our very own doorstep.
To be fair she never let any potential candidate over the threshold as, in one case at least, she pointed out that as he looked the same as he did in his election leaflet, so who would let anybody that ‘looked shifty’ into their home?
In one instance she saw through the curtains before answering the front door to one such person and she did a U turn and came back in and hid the canteen of cutlery away from view, being a gift from somebody she knew well on a “just in case” basis as “you can never be certain, can you?” she remarked.
One wonderful occasion was when one such candidate arrived on the doorstep with his entourage following on and he pressed the doorbell and kept his finger on it longer than one would normally do and she opened it to him with a very disdainful look.
“Good day to you dear lady – my name is Hopeful Asever and I am your local XYZ candidate in the forthcoming General Election an...”
She cut him dead there as she pointed out that by pressing on her doorbell so hard, it was costing her on her electricity bill and she wasn’t in a position to claim it back like he quite possibly would be doing in his line of possible work.
“The milkman and the postman can manage it with one dab at it, not using it as a leaning post,” she pointed out.
He apologised and went into his routine as he was cut short by mum.
Just inside the front door was the letter rack and from this she produced a sort of ‘score card’ with assorted lines with words on and boxes corresponding to each line.
“Right then – this is some of the promises, pledges and whathaveyou’s from the last session when your lot got in, so we will start off with question one: Has crime dropped since we last saw you?”
One of his smiling entourage hastily stepped forward with a leaflet and she brushed him aside as she pointed out, she voted for Hopeful Asever and expected a reply from him personally with no conferring to which he muttered, coughed and stuttered and mum put down ‘Unsure’ on her score card.
Next the general state of the economy: mum pointed out that her usual pack of fish fingers had gone up by over 30p or more per pack and this was disgraceful and even buying the cheaper ones was not much better and Hopeful Asever just stared at her and mum put down ‘Pending, not much hope’ to that one.
The (then) annual Budget: Why was it when petrol and other motorist fuels went up in price, it was from six o’clock that evening but if it the price ever dropped, it took weeks or months to happen?
Hopeful Asever pointed out he was not the Chancellor of the Exchequer but a ‘mere cog in a well oiled machine’ and as such had no say on the matter.
Mum put down ‘Bit of a chancer, but shows promise’ and after a few other unnerving, it seemed, other prudent questions she decided to let him go and as he left with his backing group, he asked if she would be supporting him and the party in the coming election and she replied it depended on how the other players shaped up plus it revolved around the price of fish fingers fluctuating in the meanwhile.
He did get re-elected but oddly he never bothered mum on her doorstep again.