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Saturday, June 22, 2024
Laterally SpeakingWhat's Been Happening

What’s Been Happening

“What’s Been Happening?”
Not that much apparently. Since we’ve all been shut down in isolation for the best part of a year, not many of us seem to know much about what’s been happening locally. Major national and international news stories continue to grab the headlines be it Boris or Biden or global climate change, but I’ll bet you don’t even know one-tenth about what’s going on just down the road. It seems we’d rather explore the surface of Mars than our own backyard and we know more about the Royal Family than we almost know about our own.
As we gradually climb out of lockdown, we’re discovering some incredible things achieved locally. As regular readers know, not all of these are necessarily real—particularly as this month starts with the first of April…
Relationship Lessons: Naturally one of the first things you’re going to do after lockdown is go out for a drink with your mates. But take care! This involves meeting with real people who may be suffering from coughs and colds and some of whom may not even be wearing a mask! Yes, this is so shocking that an enterprising Taunton couple have set up an online school in regaining human relationships since many people may be too frightened to walk about in public. In the safety of your own home, you can learn how to say ‘Hello’ to perfect strangers once again without covering your face. Relearn the essential human act of shaking hands without immediately reaching for the bottle of sanitising gel. Their advice is to take it gradually: start with mild distancing and then progress to closer conversation. You can practice meeting a friend three feet away with both of you sitting on the same public park bench. More advanced courses involve a higher level of skill and tactful neighbourliness including ‘How to Hug in Safety’ and ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of Holding Hands in Public’.
Sports Training: With the return of crowds to sporting events, the players on the pitch will require extra coaching. Exeter University is offering a degree course in Emotional Interaction Management (EIM) to help sportsmen and women deal with real people shouting encouragement and advice from the stands. Although some of this vocal support may be loud and often rather rude, the course will help players to cope with the volume and stress without responding in an aggressive manner. If successful, the same course will be adapted for use by horses which need to stay focussed on the need for speed when being heckled by enthusiastic punters at race tracks.
Translation Services: A Truro professor has spent a whole year translating various manuals for radios, TVs and popular electronic devices into English. Most instruction booklets feature about 100 pages of instructions in various languages as well as bad English gibberish. They also contain many factual inaccuracies such as ‘After open the power, please do place radio in the correct bath water.’ He advises that this may be unsafe, as also is the instruction to ‘Replace both batteries at the same time as your hair’. Since his work has been much in demand, he has agreed next to translate the government four-step roadmap out of Covid into Cornish.
Breeding Pets: Since so many people apparently want to adopt dogs and cats at the moment, it’s difficult to find any pets for sale costing less than several thousands of pounds. A Dorchester couple have embarked on a plan to breed other—and more reasonably priced—pet animals including Mongolian gerbils, house spiders and stick insects. Apparently, woodlice are both cheap and popular as pets although they’re not overly affectionate and don’t like being cuddled because they can easily get squashed.
Personal Achievements: Inspired by the wonderful efforts of Captain Tom Moore, various individuals throughout the Southwest have also been busy raising loads of money for charity. These include a Bridport man who spent the last year making a one tenth life-size model of the RMS Titanic in his garage out of discarded plastic packaging. Aiming to launch his model at the West Bay slipway, he was disappointed to learn that the vessel couldn’t be put to sea because he would be effectively dumping unwanted plastic waste into the ocean. The matter became irrelevant when he realised his model was too big to fit through his garage door.
A firm in Honiton has been knitting thousands of woolen mittens to give to van delivery workers to keep their hands warm during supermarket and Amazon deliveries. Since each pair of gloves comes individually wrapped in its own cardboard box for hygiene safety, police have been called to remove the huge mountain of cardboard which is currently parked outside Tesco in Sidmouth Road.
A Yeovil couple have bravely announced they intend to break the Guinness World Record for TV viewing for charity. They aim to watch every single TV show and film now streaming on the BBC and Netflix. It’s been calculated they will have to stay glued to their TV and their sofa until the year 2199—not including repeats.

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