Davinia Smythe-Barratt, ordinary mum
Some days I don’t know why I don’t just keel over when trying to cram all my ordinary mum activities into the eight hours that the children are at school.
I know, I know, it sounds like lots of time, but trust me, when you’ve got a manicure, pedicure and high tea and prosecco with the girls to fit around a session with the dashing Marius (my personal trainer – he’s Polish, but he’s wonderful) then that time soon disappears!
I’ve got it down to a fine art, though, and I’m almost never late to pick up the children. Well, there was once I was 10 minutes late collecting Emmeline from the stables.
Stupid “single-track road with passing places”. You’d think they’d make the road wide enough for 4x4s to drive two abreast, wouldn’t you?
You can imagine my horror on Thursday, then, when my usual route from one important appointment to the next was thwarted by road closures for some pesky cycle race.
The Ovo Energy Tour Series, I think it was called. Well, really! Schoolhill, Broad Street – both closed. How on earth was I supposed to get from Kippie to Mackie’s for my weekly sorbet-fuelled catch-up with the girls?!
I explained this to the beastly security guard (a little fascist in the making) until I was blue in the face, but he wasn’t to be reasoned with.
Apparently, driving a Range Rover through streets closed off for a cycle race is dangerous.
“Nonsense!” I said. “I’ve had bull bars fitted, I’ll be perfectly safe!”
The ghastly little oik just stood there with his mouth agape, so in the end I had no more ado than to lower myself to backing up and parking in the multi-storey.
And let me tell you, those spaces, like pretty much everything else in an urban environment, are not designed for a super deluxe multi-terrain vehicle. The authorities really do need to sort it out.
When I finally made it to get my sorbet, me and my fellow ordinary mums were letting off some steam about this travesty of a shambles of an event, when a very rude man interrupted us. “I think the cycling’s great,” he said. “Puts Aberdeen on the map and look at all the people who are enjoying it.”
“Yes, but why did they have to pick a Thursday?” I replied. “Couldn’t it have been on a Wednesday when we’re all at the spa at the Marcliffe?”
“I guess some people just don’t consider the needs of others,” said the man. Finally, a man who understands our plight.
Ron Cluny, official council spokesman
Life as an official spokesman for our tireless public servants often entails being told to wake up and smell the roses by angry objectors.
Well, this time there will not only be roses but a wide variety of wild flora and fauna available. Severe financial restraints have forced us to axe some of the council’s grass-cutting services – and of course we’ve had cutting remarks from critics over cost-cutting causing council grass-cutting cut-backs. Well ho, and indeed, ho. Oh, my aching sides.
What our antagonists fail to appreciate is that this is merely the latest chapter in Aberdeen’s long history of horticultural excellence. This proud city has been triumphant in Britain in Bloom numerous times, including just last year, so what better way to ensure future triumph in this area than to give over various areas of grassland to Mother Nature herself and see what she makes of it?
Stick that in your recycled pipe and smoke it, Green Party, this is a clear example of the ruling administration doing their bit for the environment.
Allowing wild flowers and plants to return to the grass verges will surely allow happy residents to get back to nature.
Just think of it, youngsters of the town cheerfully playing outdoors again like they used to do, their phones and iPads abandoned amid the dandelions, running through the long grasses, eyes and nose streaming with pollen a’wye, just like in the good old days!
But we in the council are good people and we are reasonable people and we are open to alternatives here, especially if they’re cheap. So if the denizens of the town wish to suggest some alternative means of keeping the grass closely cropped, we are up for it. Our own sophisticated electric mowers are great fun to trundle about in and seeing Barney Crocket and Martin Greig driving them through the toon’s hoose like souped-up dodgems fairly enlivened the last office Christmas party.
But while they are off-limits and locked awa in the depot in these straitened financial times, there’s always the opportunity for local volunteers to get all Poldarky with a scythe or for hairdressers with time on their hands to set their clippers to 4 and get yokit.
Or we could allow the flower of our youth to handily solve the problem by enacting a “scorched earth’’ policy on the relevant grass verges, in a similar fashion to how they often handily deal with our derelict buildings.
While doing the buttery run before the infrastructure committee yesterday, I took time to canvass public opinion on the topic of alternative ways to cut the grass, and the overwhelming response of “Donkeys!” while pointing at Marischal College was hard to ignore. Probably time to give Doonie’s Farm a ring and see what they can lend us!