WEEKEND WEB: For readers, I will ‘go the extra mile’

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JOHN WARD takes his weekly sideways look at life in WARD’S WORLD.

I was wandering about the other day and once again, for the umpteenth time, heard that now laboured expression/quote - “we go that extra mile in everything we do” and while this sounds rather grand and gives you, in theory, a feeling of being in safe hands, it’s not always the case.

Just what does this “go that extra mile” mean in real terms?

Perhaps a case of getting home and looking at the fuel gauge on the car and realising the journey did not use as much fuel as expected, so then driving on for said ‘extra mile’ to use it up - although in some cases this can be misunderstood.

Terry, one of our close neighbours years ago, was convinced that he was using ‘thick’ petrol and even changed petrol filling stations and was then telling folk: “the petrol burnt better and the smoke was not so smoky (?) since changing over to another filling station.”

This mere minor point was not lost on another neighbour, who had taken all this supposed information in and actually asked our local or rather closest filling station owner, Arthur, if he still ‘sold that thick petrol’ but was greeted with a rather bemused look as he related the case of Terry and what he had said.

Arthur, being the open- minded soul that he was, then asked even if he did, and he strongly pointed out that he didn’t sell this supposed ‘thick petrol’ anyway, would it make any difference to him and his motoring and this is perhaps where ‘going that extra mile’ might be appropriate, as he told Arthur he might well have to have thicker metal straps that held the tank in the car fitted due to carrying the extra weight of this supposed ‘thick petrol’.

I went in for petrol and Arthur explained this to me a while afterwards, as he knew everybody in the area and the fact Terry lived near us, so suggested that perhaps it might be ‘something in the water’ in our area that was causing this slight numbing of the brain cells.

I replied that I hoped it didn’t involve thicker water as well on the magical list, as I had just topped my car radiator up and this might mean buying a bigger one to get it all in based on all this silliness.

He smiled and said: “Eleven pounds eighty-five for the petrol please; the information was free.”

We were a simple lot before the mobile phone device was created to help transform able-bodied folk instantly into statues but with fingers and thumbs still active.

In a similar vein - or then it could be vain - all things considered was one segment that my mum - of the people for the people - came out with as she explained about one of the cashiers at the (then) local Co-op, who was known to ‘go that extra’ by carrying bags of shopping to a person’s car if they were a bit frail - although mum put some of the blame on the assorted offers they had that caused some to fill their shopping bags and overload them.

The following gem was one that mum told one of her friends to explain ‘going that extra mile’ and picked on, of all people, Sir William Shakespeare (or Bill Spokeshave as he was also known) no less and late of Stafford-upon-Avon, but not recently, of course, as he has not been about for ages, even to the time the following was pointed out relating to him.

She explained that by putting more effort or ‘that extra mile’, then things are achievable and then theorised that had he carried on writing a bit longer than has been deemed feasible, then his play ‘Twelfth Night’ could have been called ‘Fortnight’ and having those extra two days would have made all the difference.

You could see the sheer wonderment or then again, befuddlement, on her friend’s face, as this was explained and perhaps she was too stunned to ask anything as to what this theory was based on, but was then cut short, as mum further explained that it could have been a case that the nib in his quill pen was clogged up and he could carry on no further, or then again it could have been something quite basic like running out of ink - who knows for sure?