THIS ISLAND LIFEA STUPENDOUSLY pointless argument was raging in the letters’ pages of this esteemed organ last week, so I consider it my duty to keep it going over here in the posh section.
Peter Easy started it with a broadside aimed at 'a small number of young male drivers’, some of whom have been involved in accidents and many of whom have attached large exhausts to little cars.
This can make a Vauxhall Corsa going up Newport High Street sound like a victory lap in the Indianapolis 500 and, while it can be a trifle wearing on the tympanic membrane, it can also be a source of considerable amusement.
After all, these cars are being driven by people so unintelligent they confuse making a loud noise with making a big impression. You can see the political equivalent in the Commons every Wednesday during PMQs.
Anyway, Mr Easy’s denunciation brought forth a predictable response from a young driver (Ms Rosie Curling) who had a few words to say about the limitations of older motorists, some of whom present a threat to her partner’s car as they attempt to negotiate Rubik’s roundabout while barely being able to see over the top of the dashboard.
Stephen Emmett also chimed in as a 'volunteer spokesman for the Island car scene’.
Apparently, the scene (for those, like me, previously unaware of its existence) can be found around the highways and byways of Newport’s industrial park most evenings.
It is here the young congregate to stroke each other’s spoilers and purr over the length and lividity of their go-faster stripes.
Mr Emmett was at pains to point knuckles are rapped at the first sign of 'wheel spinning, chav behaviour or blaring loudspeakers’.
It would be easy to become cynical about such a gathering but the young must have their interests and I’ve probably taken part in cricket tours which generated more noise than this lot.
Either way, this is my favourite sort of altercation, because stereotypes abound and everyone gets it in the neck — men, women, the young, the old, the small, the arrogant, the pseudo-senile and representatives of the chavvish tendency.
However, I can speak with some authority on the subject because I used to be a young driver and am now an old one.
While entering my dotage, I’ve been flattered by how many young men are so eager to study my driving technique — usually while travelling at 30mph — they often move up to within two feet of my back bumper for a better view.
Indeed, some even acquire large white vans so they can make an even closer inspection. It’s all very flattering.
Incidentally, one of my favourite motoring moments occurred some years ago, when an old Ford Escort came pottering through Brading.
It had those large name-flashes across the top of the windscreen, and they announced that Dwayne and Chantelle had arrived among us.
But the overall image was somewhat spoiled by the fact that 'Dwayne’ was wearing a flat cap and puffing contentedly on a pipe, while 'Chantelle’ had a head-scarf placed discreetly over her rollers and was nose-deep in her knitting.
Lending the car to their grand-parents must have seemed like a good idea at the time …
No-one deserves this trip more
|From left, Yvonne Hanson, Maisey Kent and her mum, Sarah. Picture by Robin Crossley.
This is a photograph of one of my favourite little ladies. Her name is Maisey Kent (Moo to her friends) and she’s off to Euro Disney next week.It’s the least she deserves because, at the age of five, she’s already spent more weeks in hospital than most of us would hope to accumulate in a lifetime.
She has suffered a series of medical complaints since birth which I would be happy to detail here but their names are so long and complicated they look like a Polish eyesight test and nobody would understand them anyway.
Suffice it to say Moo has made so many trips to Great Ormond Street she is on first name terms with virtually all the medical staff there.
She first underwent surgery at the age of two and the top of her stomach is now attached to her oesophagus.
Other complications include wildly-varying blood sugar levels, which mean she is at constant risk of hypoglycaemia and runs a permanent risk of slipping into unconsciousness.
She tests her own blood five times a day and has to stick to a strict diet, which means she is denied most pleasures other kids take for granted — yet she still bounces back each time with a big smile.
Hardly surprising, then, her name was put forward by a family friend to the Starlight Foundation, which makes wishes come true for children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses.
Moo wanted to eat cake (which will not contain any wheat) and drink lemonade (sugar-free of course) with a Disney princess — and her wish has been granted.
She will no doubt be the centre of attention when her grandmother, Yvonne, marries my mate, Malc Lawrence, later this year.
In the meantime, I hope she has a lovely trip — because no-one deserves it more.