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Could or possibly

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Here's the weekly Ward's World column, by the eccentric John Ward...

In today’s world we have advanced so fast in both technology and science but leaving common sense some way behind in some cases, with solving problems that probably didn’t exist or have now been sorted if the following nugget of information is anything to judge by.

I was channel/station hopping on the radio recently as one item caught my ear - briefly - as somebody was being interviewed, who seemed to be either a scientist or a reformed door to door salesman judging by his manner of speaking.

Columnist John Ward (57784446)
Columnist John Ward (57784446)

He was speaking about “the research into developing batteries that could (note the word ‘could’) possibly (note the word ‘possibly’) power an aeroplane for short flights initially but hopefully thereafter transatlantic flights may well be feasible given time to develop an electrical motive power for aviation”.

I think I should have stopped on one station as the adverts about memory foam mattresses seemed to have cracked the dream-like situation without resorting to battery-powered planes, if you get my drift, but if nothing else I had grasped two words that meant something - could and possibly.

Which in a roundabout sort of way brings us to this week’s thrilling instalment of enlightenment and education the Ward Way - please note this is not available anywhere else, for which many may well think themselves lucky.

The ‘could and possibly’ bit took on a whole new meaning some years ago when my mum, of the people for the people, asked if I could pop along to see her friend and neighbour Joan who was ‘a bit worried about her home not being a fortress’ (?!) so I said I would go along, thinking if nothing else it could/would be a learning curve of sorts.

I popped along, rang Joan’s doorbell then stood there.. and stood there - but with no reply I thought she could (that word again) or might be out somewhere . As I was going to walk away, I heard a muffled voice ask: “Who is it? - do I know you?”

I realised she was talking through the letterbox flap, so I bent down to converse with her as I explained who I was, who mum was as it was she who had sent me along to see her about whatever she wanted doing, with a ‘fortress’ being mentioned in passing.

The flap went down as I stood there, bent over, as it then opened again - the flap - as she asked if I was still there (?) - should I say either quite possible or could be (them words again, but in different context) as I said yes as the flap went down as the door opened after the sound of about four or five bolts/locks being undone - no portcullis or drawbridge, so not quite a fortress then.

I was invited in as once over the threshold the repeat process of locking the place up commenced as she said that she “didn’t get many visitors you know” as the thought crossed my mind that the ‘vetting process’ I had just gone through might have put them off as it might have been quicker to go through the check-in at an airport terminal, where electrical planes had not appeared yet, and fly off to exotic places.

I was shown into the lounge as she asked: “Did your mum tell you about my problem?” which I must admit did slightly fill me with dread - a quick getaway was out the question due to the multitude of locks and bolts on the front door putting paid to that frivolous idea.

First off she suggested I “made myself comfortable” as she went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, which was soon done as she came back and asked me if I “liked them digestive biscuits” but before I could reply she said she “was out of them until I go shopping next” so I settled for a custard cream biccy with tea.

We sat slooping tea as she told me about “her problem”: her husband Stan had now departed this world so she was on her own but due to seeing programmes on the telly about people being attacked in their homes, she was worried that (quote): “One morning I could (that word) wake up to find I have been murdered in my sleep” as she was fully aware that “these things are possible” (yep, also that word again).

So she wanted ideas as what to do - without her Stan to rely on, her sister lived in Norwich and so “not handy” to call on, she was not sure “who to ask or what to do about, you know, being confronted by a murderer late at night” in her own home.

I could see she was serious and quite worried but as to what brought this on was anybody’s guess as I suggested that surely she did not keep huge amounts of money or valuables about the house that would attract any ruffian or ne’er-do-well types.

Her eyes lit up as she said she still had the £53 she won at bingo a few months back but she thought that: “People will have forgotten about it by now - wouldn’t they?”

Her own idea was she wanted a lock fitting on her bedroom door, which was simple enough but lockable from the inside but having the key by her bedside to which I duly sorted out for her later that day after nipping to the local ironmongers.

I had a feeling things were going too well as she surveyed the lock and asked about the hook or where was I going to place it as I was slightly mystified as she said she wanted it “near the door of course but on the outside as she had her own key”. She then said: “It needs to be close in case anything happens and they want to get in to me.”

Who ‘they’ might be - burglars, murderers or the emergency services - was not mentioned but could - or possibly - be any or all of them, who knew?

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