On pointless signage
"Eversley", said the sign as I crossed over into Hampshire, "Litter Free Parish".
Oh, how very well-meaning. No doubt there was an officially-sanctioned Scorched Earth policy resulting in the heads of transgressors displayed on spikes outside the Village Hall, but the number of sandwich wrappers, empty cigarette packets and other detritus in the gutter shows that their enforcement has been slipping over recent months.
No longer to the youth of Eversley quake in their boots as the dreaded sixteen ton weight punishment for failure to dispose of chewing gum thoughtfully, and the shootings-at-dawn no longer take place after it emerged the firing squad neglected to clear up their empty cartridge cases.
I shall be rattling off a letter to the Clerk of the Council, perhaps offering the good people of Eversley a 300-foot statue of Kylie Minogue should the floggings recommence.
Sadly, they are certainly not the first local council to come up with a bold promise on their road signs that they are clearly unable to keep.
Take the fair city of Gloucester, who brazenly continued with their "Murder-free zone" claims despite that sorry business with Fred West and his patio-laying family business. And the mayor of Chernobyl could barely show his hideously disfigured face in public after all those "Nuclear Free Town - No Nukes!" signs went up.
Even those "Shoreditch: No slatterns dissected by knife-wielding maniacs since 1888" signs are looking a little jaded these days.
Still, we should thank London mayor Boris Johnson for ensuring that there is at least some truth in advertising in this day and age. All routes into the capital – thanks to an edict from the towzle-haired leader – will henceforth display signage which reads: "Welcome to London: No stabbings for 35 minutes".
If more than 35 minutes passes without an incidence of knife-crime, Mayor Boris as personally pledged to ride out on his personal mayoral Raleigh Chopper and hold up an Off Licence with an ivory-handled letter opener. Chap.