Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Saturday 28 December 2013

A Festive Selection Box

Well, it looks like normal service may soon be restored at the Tavern at last, following absence, midwinter festivities and downed telephone lines.

The seclusion enforced by the latter has meant that several news stories have passed by without comment here. The treat-sized asteroid 2013 YB, for example, flew by just a whisker under 15,000 km away on the 23rd, though at somewhere between 1.5 and 3 metres in diameter, the most it could have done would probably have been an impromptu firework display in the upper atmosphere.

Meanwhile, a tale of not-so-goodwill from Canvey Island gave us a quote positively dripping with Zeitgeist:
"All we know is somebody in a yellow tabard went and asked them to stop because it was apparently traumatising children."
What dreadful deed could possibly have justified such a dramatic intervention? The culprit was a volunteer dressed as Santa Claus on behalf of a local charity; he turned up at the town's Christmas Event and fell foul of some hi-vis jobsworths, who told him to sling his festive hook because the officially approved version was on his way.
"A town council officer told us we had to take our Santa away as the Rotary Club Santa had arrived at the other end of the Christmas market round the corner."
Apparently, the prospect of seeing two Santas in the same place was considered too much for Canvey Island's impressionable youngsters, though, oddly enough, the spectacle of an 'aggressive' man in a fluorescent jacket shouting at a beloved childhood icon appears to have been deemed quite acceptable.

Personally, I'd have thought that today's children are familiar enough with celebrity lookalikes and fictional distortions of the space-time continuum to take it in their stride and, in any case, the local infants do seem to be made of sterner stuff than most.

Finally, since we are in Canvey Island, it seems fitting that another recent news story has awakened the long-silent muse and provided a merry tune to whistle while next out shopping in a popular high street store.

This is not just a song parody...

Saturday, in town,
Food shop, look around:
Basket, I put in
Pork pie, bottle of gin.
The headscarfed woman in the cashier's seat
Takes one look and gets to her feet;
"I can't handle pork and alcohol."

Says that she's gotta go;
Why work where you know
There’ll be liquor and pork?
You knew it right from the start.
How bad can scanning the barcodes be?
I ain’t asking you to taste it for me;
I just want some pork and alcohol.


  1. Heh! I have a draft about the Canvey story - I'll link, that song is too good to miss... :)

  2. Looking forward to reading it!

    I really ought to give you - or rather, your twitter account - credit for inspiring lines 3 and 4 of the song.

  3. The treat-sized asteroid 2013 YB, for example, flew by just a whisker under 15,000 km away on the 23rd

    Bllomin 'eck that wasn't 'arf close!

  4. JH, since that's the distance from the Earth's centre, you can knock off another 6,000-odd km too.


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