As one of the one million or so people in the UK with an HGV licence who isn’t driving lorries for a living, I recently received a letter from the government trying to tempt me back into the cab. It won’t work. I started off in the 1980s delivering bedroom furniture. This involved being nice to people while carrying heavy loads upstairs and trying not to rip their wallpaper or drip sweat on the carpets. It was gruelling, relentless work and some days there was barely enough time in the schedule to eat lunch. A few of the established drivers set their tachographs (the so-called spy in the cab) to ‘break’ but used the precious down time for unloading instead.
Cricket breaks out all over at this time of year. Bell Common, a generous village green set against a backcloth of ancient trees in their dark summer foliage, dotted with men in whites, is as bucolic a scene as you’ll find anywhere in England. The grass, turning a little pale after a long stretch of hot sunny days, is a shade greener on the woodland edge. Sometimes it can be boggy over there, a reminder of natural conditions, as Peter Day, the groundsman and a former captain, told me on Saturday. One of his sons was playing, the third generation of the family with links to the club. His father was a founding member of Epping Foresters when they set up in 1947, mostly ex-servicemen who began as a wandering team. Two years later they were granted a licence by the Conservators of Epping Forest to use Mill Plain, off Bell Common, as their ground.
Today, as if there wasn't enough sadness in the world, the Guardian gives us more to shake our heads about. Has the dignity of the dead hedgehog fallen foul of efficiency accountants? Apparently, the taking-away-roadkill department didn't turn up in time, so the road painters painted on according to schedule. Even penguins (who I haven't mentioned nearly recently enough) go round a static object, rather than over it. A spokesman for Hartlepool borough council said, clearly with a degree of satisfaction and relief: 'This is obviously an unfortunate incident, but it was the only one reported during the massive project.' But all may not be what it seems.