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Doreen Tipton: May to resign as Trump does Strictly

By Doreen Tipton | Weekend | Published:

Ignore the attention-grabbing headline. If the PM had resigned, if Donald Trump had been announced as the next celebrity guest on Strictly, if World War Three had started yesterday, or Jeremy Corbyn had revealed his intention to take up the Jewish faith, you wouldn’t be hearing about it in this column.

That’s because I have to write it a week in advance, which makes commenting on hot topical news a bit tricky. So, here I am, reflecting instead on the recently deceased August bank holiday weekend.

Bank holidays are a great British institution, and last week’s had all the hallmarks of a classic. For a start, it rained not just cats and dogs, but a whole menagerie, including locusts and frogs in biblical proportions. Despite this, huge swathes of the West Midlands population gathered their buckets and spades and took part in the ancient pagan festival of lining up to park on the M5.

The M5, of course, is the gateway to Poldark Land, unlike its sister motorway the M6, which I can confirm doesn’t actually go anywhere. For the less ambitious, the M5 is also handy for seaside Bank Holiday stop-offs like Weston Super Mare.

I myself recently undertook the spiritual journey to Weston to do a show, and spent many, many happy hours staring at the brake lights of the lorry in front, and trying to decide which receptacle in the car I would eventually have to wee in. In the end I opted for the Starbucks coffee cup, on the basis that it probably wouldn’t affect the taste.

At one point I’d passed a huge sign on the side of the road with a Facebook logo on it. ‘Follow us on Facebook!’ it said, adding a jaunty exclamation mark to make it sound really fun. As it happened I was desperate for some fun, and also for some bladder distraction, so I reached for my phone (I wasn’t driving, but then again neither was the driver) and glanced up at the sign to see which dynamic entertaining business name I should type into the search box and engage with. It turned out to be ‘Oldbury Viaduct.’

Really? Has social media sunk to this? Who the hell follows a viaduct on Facebook? How desperate have you got to be to ‘like’ the page of a viaduct? For that matter, what is a viaduct? And do I need one in my life? Only if I can wee in one, I decided – but I think that’s an aqueduct.

I did eventually get to Weston, but the journey took so long I had to shave my legs twice on the way. Nobody does roadworks quite like the British. 287 invisible people employed putting out the signage, one man looking at the hole.

And those who don’t boldly seek out Poldark Land, or the Poundshop Poldark Land of Weston, inevitably aim their sat-navs at Wales. I’m told by scientists that there are some days when it’s not actually raining in Wales, but I think they’re lying. Probably just another part of the climate change scam. Some strange folk even make the long trek to Wales in order just to sit in a large tin box – presumably because it’s more comfortable than their house, and it makes the rain sound louder. Others, even more strange, take the tin box with them, attached to the back of their car, like some kind of tourist hermit crab. Or perhaps a better analogy would be a tourist snail, given the speed they’re driving.

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Not content with the rain at home, these fanatics seek out remote sodden peat bog fields where they can settle down and experience some proper, more consistent Welsh rain. They listen to it beating out a tribal rhythm on the tin roof while desperately leafing through pamphlets that look as though they were printed in 1950, advertising exotic family fun days at places like Barometer World, Paperweight World, Sheep World, Lamb World, Goat World, Wasp World, Wood Louse World or, for the real hard-core thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies, Stick Insect World, where many of the exhibits are actually sticks.

But caravans, traffic jams, crap weather and dodgy tourist attractions isn’t the worst of it. There’s something else about the August Bank holiday which is even more depressing. The fact that it seems to give a green light to certain businesses that’s it’s now okay to start talking about Christmas. Yes, the first ‘Now Booking’ signs have already started to appear. Whenever I see one I have to resist a strong urge to put a brick through their window, with a bit of tinsel sellotaped to it, and a polite note saying ‘Too Early’.

And no doubt trendy overpaid John Lewis creatives are already plotting their next masterpiece, in which a cute child from a model multicultural family lies in bed dreaming about a big retail house inhabited by a cuddly monster called Fraser who hasn’t yet gone bankrupt.

But anyway, none of this matters if World War Three has started, or Trump is on Strictly, or the PM has come to her senses, or Corbyn has had a divine revelation. If any of those things has happened, I might mention it next time. So enjoy last week’s Bank Holiday. And my confident topical prediction for next week? August will be gone, but May will still be here. Merry Christmas.

Tarra a bit. X

Doreen Tipton

By Doreen Tipton
Columnist - @DoreenTipton

The Queen of the Black Country shares her take on the week's hot topics.

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