The blue mini-roundabout . . . (episode 52)

Image by Gregory Szarkiewicz

Image by Gregory Szarkiewicz

December 20 1998

401B Concrete Shacks

Hello Auntie

Sorry if my last missive was a little ‘Lake Woebegone Days’; it has taken some weeks, but I have managed to revive my interest in life – and the living of it!

It is perhaps due to having nearly been killed while cycling round one of Wortlewell’s – numerous – mini-roundabouts that I have taken a renewed interest in the state of local society. As you know Auntie – from your peregrinations round town in the Banger 0.9L – it is clearly set out in the Highway Code that one Gives Way to the Right on a roundabout. Well, on one crystal clear English morning – with scintillas of frost adorning the tarmac and the sky radiant overhead – I cycled towards one of these roundabouts. I was properly turned out, as you might imagine, with my black trousers tucked neatly into my Doc Marten boots and visibility unimpeded by my cosy-knit balaclava.

When I arrived at the junction markings, no vehicle was in the vicinity of the next approach to my left and so, naturally, I set off in a state of quite some confidence. To my horror, Auntie, in the next few milliseconds, a Volvo saloon raced towards the vacant approach and did not stop! Or, at least, it did stop with only several millimetres between it and me – for I screeched to a halt as well. Nobody said a word; I think we were both too paralysed by the miracle of our escape! Now, having gone back to examine the approach to this roundabout, the signage of it, and the actual state of the roundabout itself, I cannot think the driver of the car to be one hundred per cent culpable. For one thing, the approach to the roundabout is on a bend and, for another, the blue mini-roundabout sign is obscured by the branch of a large, evergreen, tree. And that’s not even considering the physical state of the roundabout itself – which is very small, flat to the surface of the road, and with its white paintwork virtually completely worn away! I do feel uneasy about the safety of the road at this spot for, sooner or later, I feel that there is going to be an incident. And that the incident may involve the possible loss of life.

Naturally, in my new position as a Wortlewell town councillor, I decided to agenda the matter for discussion at the next meeting of the transport committee. And this went as you might imagine Auntie! The Chair of the group seems to be a rather short-sighted (in the metaphorical sense) individual and certainly not of the mettle generally hoped for in a member of my own political party! When I suggested that the town’s ten mini-roundabouts could be enlarged slightly (to reduce the actual tendency to motor straight over them); be raised proud of the road surface (also to reduce the tendency to motor straight over them), and to be actually re-painted – this individual said that, of course, in an ideal world, there would be a budget to attend to these matters. She did, grudgingly, concede that it might be possible to saw off the branch of the evergreen tree which was obscuring the actual view . . . but added that it is not actually a statutory requirement to re-paint the markings on minor roads of any kind!

I personally Auntie think that she might be slightly biased against suggestions coming from councillors such as myself, who are members of the British Indigent Workers Party. And she has definitely now seen me attending the entrance of the Wortlewell tube station with copies of the Socialist Worker for sale! (I did eventually find the courage to resume doing this, rather than continue to be intimidated by the fear of what members of the local Establishment might think of me!) It is, I must admit, tempting to slink away from my membership of the Wortlewell town council – but attendance at these sessions is presently my only source of (legal) income!

I suppose things have improved slightly on a personal front. I did meet a young woman called Mandie at the addiction rehabilitation meetings that I am also required to attend. She is about my age and very neat. She also tends to wear black and white and is very clean. Actually Auntie, she suffers from that condition called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and comes round to do a lot of cleaning in my flat. In fact, she is always cleaning. I have never felt so clean. She rarely ever sits down. (It is hard to get an opportunity to put my hands on her small, taut, breasts.) Also, she keeps on mentioning fly spray. But I have gotten very fond of my pet house fly, whom I have named Cedric. His partner died. But Cedric is still flying past and sometimes sits on the arm of my chair. (I think he may have taken to hiding from Mandie.) I leave out empty ketchup lids – with ketchup and water in – for his sustenance – but only when Mandie is not around.

Yours in a bit of a state.



One thought on “The blue mini-roundabout . . . (episode 52)

  1. josna

    I love this, and love Ralph more with each successive letter of his. Aside from his politics, he really is more like his aunt than her daughter Harriet is.


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