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February 20, 2007 > Across the pond:

Across the pond:

Greetings fellow Newarkers, since my last column, on this side of the "pond," we have battled our way through hurricane force winds and ploughed our way through copious snowfalls- too much for motorists; not enough for children! Global warming has reached Newark England. Although we joke about the "warming," weather conditions are certainly more extreme (Mental note- must stop driving to work, pull on Wellington boots and stomp my way through the snow).

At Newark's large Comprehensive school (ages 11 to 18), "killjoy" teachers warned pupils not to throw snowballs at each other. By lunchtime the expected line of drenched walking wounded appeared.

Teacher: "What happened?"
Pupil: "Well, we were having a snowball fight....."

Sometimes children in Newark England, as I suspect children in Newarks everywhere, have to learn lessons the hard way.

However, there was some light relief for the school community when the ancient heating boilers, struggling to cope with the cold weather, started a chain reaction with the electricity supply which affected the lights and then set off the intruder alarm, resulting in happy pupils being evacuated from lessons onto the outdoor playing fields. Then, even better, the ancient power generator registered its protest with total meltdown of vital innards. Children cheered at the unexpected day off school as a team of men who "knew what they were doing," were drafted in to resolve the problem as teachers played their part by switching on and off lights, computers, ovens, kettles and practically anything that didn't have a pulse

Meanwhile, hurricane force winds caused an interesting game of football (soccer) with a ball that had a life of its own and players unable to breathe Given the choice between going inside for written "theory" or playing on regardless......well....adolescent boys everywhere are so predictable. Elsewhere, falling trees and flying debris caused the closure of Nottingham Castle, Wollaton Park and many other ancient and notable sites in the area. People returned home to find flower pots and garden seats in very strange places.

On the domestic front, Newark's present Mayor has unwittingly caused confusion and controversy. We are approaching the national Comic Relief Day, when vast amounts of money are raised for charity through comic events. It's also called Red Nose Day as many Brits can be seen wearing clown's red noses (stop laughing). The Mayor suggested auctioning the position of Mayor for the day. The highest bidder would wear the ceremonial robes and chain of office and carry out certain duties while she acted as attendant officer. However, past Mayors "failed to see the funny side" and expressed concern it could "bring the chain and Mayoralty into disrepute." One can only imagine the heated debate that would have taken place before the decision: no red nose Mayor!

Very high above all this controversy, a man was spotted climbing the lofty heights of Newark's Church spire. As Newarkers on the cobbled market place gazed skyward at the tiny figure edging his way ever upwards to the distant pinnacle, one of the market traders (who know everything ) told me he was up there to repair the weather vane which was about to lose its N,S,E or W. Thanking her for the potted plant I'd purchased from the stall I commented on the cold weather (as we do) and commiserated with her having been on her pitch since the chilly hour of 6 a.m. Then struggling with temptation, but not very hard, I found myself being drawn like a heat seeking missile to the "Jane Young" fabulous (as in prices) dress shop....in the final days of its Winter Sale with 70% off everything. One scarf and jacket later I scuttled back to the car park, resolving yet again that this is absolutely my last "sale" purchase this year.

So farewell for this time dear friends, from Frances (poorer but warm!)

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