Thursday, 26 November 2009

Some thoughts while driving in Northernshire in Autumn . . .

Now that we are back on Zulu time or GMT the nights draw in quicker here in the more Northern parts of Northenshire and the change in light makes the drive into work literally appear in a different light. May sound like a bit of bull but any photographers will know what we mean.

One thing that has struck us is how many pubs (Public Houses or bars) have shut in the last 2 years along our drives to our various surgeries and visits. In the last 2 years we have counted 10.

Now this being one of the more intellectual and affluent areas of Northernshire the average working man after a hard days graft at the coal face that is the office will usually be off for a quick gallon at the local gentlemen’s club called the Working Men’s club in the Northern shires.

But the lights are no longer on and the windows are boarded up. We know not why as liver disease is on the increase and, coupled with the increasing number of signs on buildings reading “Licence to let”, or “Building for sale”, or “Can you run this pub”?, we wonder why these are appearing rapidly on once prosperous and booming businesses?

The dark nights have also unleashed a new hidden menace onto Northernshire’s already hazardous roads.

In addition to the odd deer, pheasant, uncontrolled horse, farm tractor, combine harvester, wet leaves, black ice and floods, we have here in Northernshire noted an increasingly common new hazard preventing our normal Mach 5 journey home in our state funded Ferrari (if you, or anyone, believes our current Party as to how much the evil under worked over paid GPs earn).

This may reflect the increasing aging of our population but it is an insidious problem, possibly a mission creep, which will result in more harm as it is an unregulated problem at present.

What is it?

None other that the nocturnal pensioner on an electrically powered mobility scooter.

Surely not? Yes not.

These demented “infirmed” users of these devices with cataracts are using them on Northernshire roads with passing places on hills and in the dark as well. Some will use lights or wear fluorescent jackets but others will not as using lights will diminish their battery power which is severely challenged by them going up the local 1 in 5 hills on their way back from the local tavern (still open) in a valley bottom.

Coupled with diminished hearing and eye sight these scooters have caused both Northern Docs, and local bus drivers, some scary moments on single track roads with passing places as they pull out without warning onto the unlit roads to avoid a steeper climb up a hill on the footpath parallel to the road which runs up a different contour from the road causing traffic to screech to a halt and crawl behind an almost invisible pensioner on an electric scooter up a 1 in 5 hill until the next passing place a mere 500 yards away at 4mph.

No insurance, no minimum standard, no licence but still a hazard particularly in the dark.

Now one is bad enough but there are now packs of them. Could this be the Marlon Brando Wild Ones generation of bikers making a final come back? A new Hell’s Angels chapter in the making the Mobility Scooter Granddaddy Hells Angels Drinkers Chapter?

We jest not this is all true not in a Northernshire Granny ghetto conurbations but in country lanes and villages. It may be related to the closure of a local pub that was on the flat but now the nearest pub is in a valley bottom we know not but there is a new hazard on the dark roads that hunts in packs.

Although not fans of over regulation there must come a point when there will need to be regulated. 8 deaths and a thousand injuries are quoted by the BBC in 2004 and it would appear that some (patchy) bits of law might apply already.

Praise be to the Party whose zeal to legislate and regulate is sometimes conspicuous by its absence especially for the protection of the individual as opposed to the corporate entity that is Government especially on dark nights in Northernshire’s dimly lit roads.

We would hate to dent the Ferrari on a mobility scooter oops we meant to say cause injury to an unlit pensioner. Could this also be an income generation measure to reduce the National Debt? Mobility Scooter Road Tax? Compulsory insurance? M(S)OT certificates?


Prisoner of Hope said...

In case you have not already seen it you might like the reference in this animated cartoon to the baby boomers who were once "born to be wild" but now alas are only bored tubby & mild as depicted in my own - self deprecating - "avatar".

Northern Doc said...

Thank you once again for reading and your comment. Will be seeing you down the gym on your scooter at some point then?

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