BIRDWATCHERS, environmentalists and preservationalists must be a pain in the clear blue sky to so many people, who have my sympathy — especially when they are trying to help us all by building monster blocks or leaking factories or just good old-fashioned profitable houses. Nevertheless, and even under great strain, they should try to be polite, don't you think?
The London Wildlife Trust, with an eye to the next generation more than this, planned to turn what's known as the Old Oak Common — straddling the boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham — into a nature reserve. Now, however, and quite understandably, British Rail want the land for keeping their crosschannel trains — especially when the dreaded Tunnel is a reality. Did they explain this nicely to the good people who see their dream about to be snatched away? Not by the quote I saw.
"I understand the Trust is disappointed but our operational requirements come first — we are in the Railway business."
Tut, tut, tut, Mister Whoever-you-are. You ma) only send those stupid Wildlife people in search of a stronger voice — and a politer
Almost a double act
YOU MAY have noticed my favourite TV Panel Show is back. Newcomer to the What's My Line panel the first night — Easter Monday — was ex-World Motor Cycle champion Barry Sheene. He made a bright and breezy debut, with some sharp and humorous questioning. When the panel were trying to guess Mystery Guest Frank Bruno, Barry missed hearing Ernie Wise establish that it was, in fact, a sportsman and added: "Are you a singer?
His lovely wife Stephanie pounced on him afterwards and we had to rush to his defence. It had a lovely touch of irony to it because what Barry or the viewers didn't 'know was that Stephanie had almost been on the panel herself. Barbara Kelly's car had got caught in traffic and. with ten minutes to go to air time, Producer Maurice Leonard asked her if she would go on instead.
There came a scream of disbelief and shock — at which point Barbara sailed around the
corridor corner . So the debut of Sheene and Sheene must wait to another das.
LONDON TRANSPORT have been running a television commercial showing a young man leaving a Court having presumably been found guilty of fare dodging. He mutters something about realising that he now has a criminal record. A Criminal Record. He stumbles off burdened with this awful realisation. I protest. Of course, it's a criminal offence; but do the holier-than-thou creators of
this nonsense not realise they are doing whatever the opposite is to debasing the coinage of the words . . criminal offence.
How can you expect some potential thug to hold back in fear of getting a criminal record if you can get one by just not paying for a railway ticket? Older readers will remember how that post-war pundit of BBC's Brains Trust almost wrecked his career by fare dodging.
It's a topsy-turvey world. I feel the same breath of anger when I see the Irish television threat if I dont have a licence. Not only may 1 be fined but it warns me to think of the awful embarrassment if the man calls when I am having friends for supper. I agree about the embarrassment but if he calls on me it won't be mine — and he wont see any licence either.
BOB EATON is a Devonian who works in a Welsh Gold Mine and is about to investigate an Irish Gold Mine somewhere in Northern Ireland. How is that for an opening sentence? It's all true.
What panned my fancy when I met him was an aspect of the St David's Gold Mine, Colgan — found ed 1 8 4 0 — which reminded me of Compton Mackenzie's Whiskey Galore. You see, St David's was originally a copper mine and, in the old days, the rocks were sent down to South Wales where the copper was extracted.
One of the workers down there discovered that the "yellow" copper was, by now, gold but the price being paid was for copper.
His greed overcame his discretion and his pressure for extra production led to the true realisation at source. Talk about Sheik Amani and OPEC oil prices. What else is new?