Wednesday, 18 December 2013

This Country

A recent review of one of my books on Amazon compared me to both Alan Partridge and Karl Pilkington. It wasn't the most flattering review I've had - it was a 3 star one, but it was in-depth and that's got to be a good thing. I think it is also good to be compared to people, and I've no problem with being compared to Alan or Karl. Unique as we would all like to believe we are, in a world of 7 billion people that is quite a challenge and most reviews you read in of books, plays, films, you name it make comparisons to others in the genre.

As for the two named, well I guess Alan must have had some sort of influence on me as I've always been a big fan. I've been known to quote many a "Partridge-ism" in conversation - "This Country" being my all time favourite. My review referred to Partridge style rants in my book - I'm not sure if this was intended as a compliment or not but I've decided to take it as such. I certainly didn't intend to start out sounding like Partridge but I suppose I can see the similarity between my parochial comments on Bicester and Alan's Norwich obsessed ramblings.

Karl Pilkington on the other hand is a completely different kettle of fish. I could not cite him as an influence on me as up until about six months ago I was completely unaware of his existence. However, having now seen and greatly enjoyed "An Idiot Abroad" I can certainly see the similarities. There was me thinking I was the only one who packed my suitcase full of bags of crisps when going away anywhere just in case I didn't like the food and lo and behold, there he is with a case full of Monster Munch! Perhaps we were separated at birth, who knows, but we really are two peas in a pod. And no - I would not do a bungee jump either, for love nor money!

Speaking of rants, when I think of them these days, rather than Alan Partridge, it's the "Bicester Have A Rant" page on facebook that springs to mind. Among the subjects that crop up on a regular basis such as dog poo and bad driving, occasionally can be found a comedy gem, and one such rant appeared this week. It did touch a chord with me as I have long been disillusioned with people's behaviour in this country as regards to litter and waste disposal in general. You only have to walk alongside any A or B road in this country and look in the hedges alongside to see the endless trail of litter which can only have been thrown out of car windows to understand what I mean. I could go on and on about litter in the streets in a "this country" moment but I am sure you have heard it all before. It's just about people's attitudes and this particular rant, accompanied by a photo said it all.

What it depicted was the nappy bin in our local Sainsbury's in the baby changing facility. The rather small bin had not been changed for some time and was massively overflowing. OK, it is easy to lay the finger of blame at the store for not changing it, fair enough, but it is what people did after it was full that I found outrageous. They just threw their nappies on to the top until it was piled so high no more could fit on and then they chucked them on the floor. Hardly anybody even bothered to bag them up. The main word added underneath the rant by most who commented was "disgusting". I am so glad that my children are now out of nappies and I don't have to frequent such places any more!

The lady who originally took this picture has given me permission to reprint it here, many thanks Kerri.

"This Country"

I'm not sure at what point we turned into a nation of slobs, perhaps it is just indicative of how people feel in general these days. It's probably fair to say we no longer have pride in ourselves as a nation, so we treat it accordingly. I can't even go on the short school run each day without seeing several examples - the half eaten discarded kebab chucked in the road, the pile of vomit deposited on the way home from the pub on Saturday night, the empty beer cans in the church yard, the list is endless. All I can do to combat it is make sure my children know it's wrong. Ollie often points out some litter in the street and comments on it along the lines of "Look at that Daddy, naughty people! They should have put it in the bin! Disgusting!" I may not be able to influence the other millions of people in this country, but at least if I can do it with my two, then I'll have made some positive influence.

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