As ever, the bank holiday weekend sees the start of the coastal Darwin Award season, as landlubbers seek ever more ingenious ways of removing themselves from the gene pool only to be thwarted by the tireless efforts of the Coastguard and the RNLI.
Early aspirants include the two intrepid anglers blown out to sea from Humberside in a child's toy dinghy, together with the usual assortment of clueless jetskiers and overconfident swimmers, 130 of whom had to be fished out of the North Sea when organisers launched a two-mile open-water race in unseasonably cold water and a current so fast the hapless swimmers were travelling backwards.
And, of course, there are always the latter-day Cnuts, who have apparently failed to grasp the essential fact that the sea level around our coasts goes up and down twice a day.
An elderly couple had to be rescued by the rather nifty Hunstanton Hovercraft (if you ever wondered what the RNLI buy with donations, check it out) when their 4x4 was stranded in a foot or so of water, but this is small beer compared to the experience of taxi driver Kryxdztof Tomaszek (H/T JuliaM, via comments).
The unfortunate Mr Tomaszek parked on Brean Beach (complete with pay-and-display ticket) and set off for a pleasant Sunday evening stroll along the sands, blissfully unaware that the car park was of a somewhat impermanent nature and there was a spring tide on the way.
'I managed to get in and tried to drive it away but the engine kept cutting out and two guys helped me out of the car by opening the driver's door and getting some belongings out.'Despite the Mail's valiant attempts to create a life-or-death drama, there appears to have been little risk to life and limb; not really Darwin territory at all. It could, however, have been a very different story in Dorset, where teenagers have been seen climbing on the precarious piles of rubble that recently fell from the cliffs near Durdle Door.
A local resident reports that boys were clambering about high up on the stones, ignoring the fact that the rocks they dislodged were falling onto people below:
"Their reply was they are not throwing them so it's not their fault."That sort of attitude has come to be associated with 'vulnerable' youngsters who need to be protected from themselves, so you might imagine that the Nanny State would have swung into action, ensuring everything is expensively fenced off. But no, they make 'em tougher than that in Dorset:
A spokeswoman for Portland Coastguard said the advice to people was not to climb on the rock, to act sensibly and to stay away from the landslip debris.
"That's our advice, if they ignore it that's up to them," she added.Well said: Madam, your very good health!