The web page of the ABPress based in Oxford and Sibiu, soon open for business: muses and misspells on its books. Randomly decrepit, stiff joints, possibly neo-bankrupt: so out of touch it needs help, but so analogue it cannot be helped. Nonetheless temperamentally enthusiastic, moderately irascible.
(*) who are allowed to identify as women, should they wish…
In Romania it is a logistical problem only (witness the photograph): the plumb line inadvertently cuts through vegetation. If there isn’t a power tool on the van that morning then one of the workers will have an uncle down the road who can help, best keep the cut tidy so that bureaucracy isn’t alerted, the tree will survive and thrive.
In Britain it’s slightly more convoluted: usually the Health & Safety Sub-committee of the Parks & Recreation Facilities Steering Group are notified (they report to the Highways & Maintenance Division who fall under the auspice of the Borough Council for whom nobody has voted in decades); they petition Parliament and are granted temporary powers to call an ad hoc emergency assembly with only nine months notice (why the rush, asks the town clerk). Papers are prepared (though Council cuts mean the photocopier is out of order, service contracts now outsourced). A quorum attends. All wear a hi-vis jacket, a regulatory condition of membership, the jacket is inspected as fit for a snug fit every 12 months; alarmingly only a few wear a hard helmet, its exact dimensions still only at consultation stage. The meeting has been delayed for fire drill practice, even though the key for the water hydrant is long lost somewhere (in Mr Goldman’s office) and there are no sprinklers (is okay coz neither is actually a requirement under EU legislation, letter of the law obeyed, won’t effect anybody’s pension if the whole lot burns down, anyway only the cleaners are in overnight). A heated dispute follows on Facebook: does fire drill apply to designated safe places housed within the Council Offices, and, if so, has adequate provision been made for those wearing balaclavas, three-legged minorities, and those knitting prayer mats (NB sharp end of the needles stored in a safety harness please when not in use, form 34(c) duly completed each evening, available as a download only, part of the Naff Procedures Act 476, 2013)?
Item 1 on the agenda is dealt with swiftly: the white neon fluorescent ring road lighting is deemed disrespectful, for it honours only the part that non-renewable sources of energy played in our history. To be fair, the Council allows occasional dispensation for mood lighting to celebrate multi-cultural days, globalism, Council libraries supporting Amazon tax avoidance and zero hour contracts, also all those pacifists here in England who wish to show support for trans membership of the American armed forces. Otherwise low voltage, organic, biodegradable bulbs are to be fitted, extra colours gotta be added for LGB events (why do we celebrate Lettuce, Guacamole and Bacon sandwiches? asked one member, later exposed as a racist on Twitter); these gotta be imported from China, and coz of legal safe handling restrictions gotta be delivered separately by petrol guzzling articulated lorries, four hour shifts only permitted so two workers per cab, costs a fortune). It was remarked by one committee meeting that it is possible that Magna Carta and the 1832 Reform Act may both have been signed under torchlight, at least they might have been had there been electricity then; even Thomas Jefferson may have used high energy bulbs. What to do? It is resolved that Council funds are to be put aside to consult Chomsky (or Russell Brand) on this one.
At this point, kerfuffle: the committee members are frogmarched by Antifa from its original meeting point, Room 52 in Block F, to a meeting room elsewhere. It has been determined that the previous room has voting percentage and former UKIP-leader-initial-letter conflation: the room is out of commission until renamed by the Renaming and the Rewriting of History Consultation Group.
Item 2 concerns the letter misdirected in error from a Mrs Trellis of North Wales, whose complaint that her four-year-old son has not been moved on from level two of the Janet & John reading scheme at her school has been rescheduled to Any Other Business next meeting – coz Council lawyers need to be in attendance.
The committee halts for its statutory 15 minute tea break, when members are reminded to note the number of digestive biscuits they consume in their year end gifts in kind declaration; one alt-left wing member declares he won’t declare his chocolate bourbon as under new Political Correctness Guidelines (the Council has invested in the amended nut allergy edition) he is allowed to identify as a fat Tory bastard, besides his uncle-in-law once attended a bar mitzvah and the Council should be seen to stand firm against charges of antisemitism.
At last item 3, and the offending tree trunk is to be addressed. The debate is intense (that there are no beds available in the local hospital or that North Korea is all nuclear hissy fit is irrelevant at this point, let’s debate the banal, we gotta make time for important progressive thinking). Tree surgeons are summoned as witness, evolutionary psychologists and Bob (official keeper of the Council extension lead) also are consulted. The tree is to be toppled, but only if two lanes of the road can be closed unnecessarily for two weeks beforehand and two weeks after, a sequence of pointless speed cameras that have no film inside be erected – though the council seeks to fulfil its duty to be mindful to motorists’ rights to have the speed cameras signed every 20 metres (forget the cyclists, phooey, they got voted a cycle lane for 300 yards on the A34 last week). At this point there is interminable discussion if that shouldn’t be 20 yards – a non-EU measurement – but no clarity here as the hard Brexit edition of the Highway Code is still forthcoming. Further stipulations include an incorrect phone number (Mrs Trellis’ will do) to be added to signs should drivers wish to complain about the inordinate number of cones used; also the Utilities Officer is to negotiate with British Gas and various communications companies their subsequent timetable of interruption, the re-digging of the freshly laid asphalt surface, three month interludes optimum, and to stress it essential that out of date cable only to be laid and a contrasting colour of asphalt to be used to refill on each occasion, also an unnecessary two lane closure two weeks beforehand, two weeks after, etc.