THE VIEW FROM HERE EVER since I read a warning on the CP letters page (CP, 4-5-12) about the potential menace of mobility scooters, I have been on my guard against rogue operators of these vehicles.
The author rightly sympathised with those with a genuine need to use mobility vehicles and who do so in a responsible manner. But having been almost knocked over by "an elderly person" driving his scooter in a manner more Silverstone than silver-haired, our correspondent suggests these vehicles be limited to the average walking speed of about 3mph.
While I slightly applaud anyone who, despite age and infirmity, is still sufficiently subversive to put their scooter on full throttle, mowing down anybody in their path with mad abandon, I can see it is not an ideal situation.
And we certainly don’t want to lose any of our CP correspondents, particularly one such who writes with such a pleasing turn of phrase. "Isn’t it about time to drop the black flag on pavement grand prix stars, otherwise known as mobility scooter users?" he asked.
Well, yes, it probably is. But the thoughtlessness of some mobility scooterists is as nothing compared to the arrogance of the great number of parents who believe that having a baby in a buggy entitles them to the kind of treatment accorded to the Israelites when God kindly parted the Red Sea so they could make their journey in comfort.
Hold on a moment. Just popping on my tin helmet and hiding under the table, because I am aware that to cast even the teeniest aspersion on anybody who has been so utterly brilliant as to have a baby risks the wrath of the mighty Mumsnet, smugboots cyberhome of the nation’s post-natal preeners.
I am also aware that, yes, it can be a palaver trundling a baby or toddler around (I’ve done my share of it, believe me) and you do sometimes need help backing into narrow doorways or negotiating steps. But the difficulties are surely exacerbated by the craze for buggies which have been engineered into monstrously cumbersome contraptions, full of levers and gizmos and enough straps and buckles to keep a bondage enthusiast happy for hours.
Once in charge of these juggernaut devices, mothers seem to think it is their divine right to take precedence at all times (London buses have even had to put up notices to say that when a wheelchair-user needs to get on board, this is not the case) and to block the pavement whenever they like.
And why are 'parent and child’ spaces directly outside supermarket entrances? I appreciate you need a space the size of an airfield to manoeuvre a modern buggy out of a vehicle but, having done so, can’t these parents manage to walk across the car park?
Nothing is too good for these wonder babies, it seems, when it comes to buggy design. Except for one thing. Young children need to see the person who is looking after them. But most of the poor little mites, having been trussed into their gargantuan conveyances, have to sit peering out at a terrifying vista of strangers’ shins and paving slabs, with no idea where their carer is.
Worst of all, they are likely to be in the front line as geriatric Jehu comes driving furiously towards them on his mobility scooter. I think the writer of the letter and I had better stay indoors.
I wandered lonely as an educator
IF babies are doted on to an absurd extent, at least it’s payback time when they get to school. For, as they come toddling through the gates, who is that waiting with a Bible in one hand and a volume of poetry in the other?Oh dearie me, it’s Mr Gove, our education secretary.
Creepy or what? Already planning to send a King James Bible to every state school (honestly, does he know how much unsuitable sex and smiting it contains, not to mention Noah’s disgraceful drunkenness and Onan’s unpleasant habits?), he has now ordained that five-year-old children should learn and recite poetry and languages be taught from the age of seven.
Mr Gove is apparently determined to make the teaching of English "far more rigorous" in primary schools. Bibles, parrot-fashion poetry, rigour. Sounds horrible.
I’m all for literacy but whenever Mr Gove comes into view, I long to send every child to somewhere such as Summerhill, that progressive Suffolk school where lessons are optional and the whole place resembles hippy heaven.
And while I naturally hope for an improvement in the Island’s school results, it would be fun to tease Mr Gove with some really rubbish marks and a complete inability on the part of any IW child to recite boring old Daffodils by boring old Wordsworth.