Friday, 16 September 2011

Don't Bend Over Orwell!

Nothing is what it seems. Take this tranquil picture of a foggy autumnal morning. Al seems quite normal. The grass is green. The sky murky. The trees are looking tired but normal for this time of year. Expect one ...

... an unexciting tree which looks tireder than the others. Yet there is a glint of strong colour emanating from somewhere within its trunk...

... the strong yellow notice leaps out against all the other countryside colours. It is a warning sign of some sort. Maybe it says 'Beware Of The Bull' or 'Danger Deep Slurry' or 'Caution Mud On Road'. But no... instead it says...

Now at first reading I felt a fraction taken aback. You don't expect to come across urban type signs in a rural idyll. I briefly look round for the CCTV cameras, before realising that it is just the farmers' version of a Neighbourhood Watch. We are fortunately an area where the net curtains (in houses which have them) rustle at the slightest hint of the abnormal or the irregular.

The area is occasionally targeted by thieves. A horsebox, a trailer, a transformer, some Victorian fireplaces...the odd thing has been stolen. So this is a good sign to remind the ne'er-do-wells that they have a good chance of getting caught. The eagle-eyed locals and the fact that the Police helicopter can be up above in ten minutes is a great deterrent. Once it is up, the chances of getting caught in the getaway car heighten, as there are only four escape routes out of the place - easily covered by a whirlybird.

Bus drivers are increasingly on camera. One driver was spitting with rage about the eight cameras he knew about on his bus.

'They're spying on bloody everything,' he said. 'It's all very Big Bruvver-ish. These bloody smart cards. I swipe it when I get into the motor and then it moans at me all day. It tells me...'Yer've breaked too hard'...'Yer've left yer engine idling too long'...'Yer've done this'...'Yer've not done that'... and yer get back to the depot and yer've gotta swipe the doors to get in, swipe computers, swipe bar codes.......'

He went silent, before looking pale and irritated,

'It's got to the stage where I'm frightened to bend over because someone might come and swipe my arse.'

Not very Orwellian.

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