Digging the commons, man

How Thomas’ inner hippy saved the commons with a spot of help from the high-born

Last week I was abruptly awakened by a loud noise. I elbowed my snoring Thomas in the ribs and sent him off to investigate. He only protested briefly. Clearly we were under threat.

It turned out that the lawn outside our kitchen was being dug up by a large digger to make way for an extension to the parking area. Disappointingly Thomas did not face down the digger in his pyjamas, a vision I find strangely exciting. He did though rush in his dressing gown to protest to the management and the machine soon stopped – for the moment.

“Disappointingly Thomas did not face down the digger in his pyjamas, a vision I find strangely exciting.”

The letter informing us of the plans to expand the car parking space had never arrived. It turned out that this expansion had been agreed to by a meeting of our management committee, which Thomas had missed as we had been visiting my aged aunt Veronica.

There had been ongoing battles over the limited car parking space. The developers had seen it as wasted space as surely us old “dears” would be happy to give up our cars as our faculties declined.

Our cars are actually our only defence against declining faculties. The older you are the more exhausting public transport is.

Parking space was at a premium. One woman was even policing the car park through twitching curtains. Guests that brought their cars in, were seen off the premises smartly.

In Thomas’s convenient absence, the management committee had agreed that the lawn outside our apartment should be sacrificed in favour of an expansion of parking space for the “good of all”. What they didn’t know was that Thomas had a powerful ally.

“Our cars are actually our only defence against declining faculties.”

Thomas had made friends with a recent arrival to our community – Robena FitzWell. Thomas met Robena while she was cleansing the corridors with herbal waters and sound therapy. Thomas fell for her swirling clothes and “alternative” ways. He has always wanted to give rein to his inner hippy. I have no time for such irrational rubbish.

Robena does though have one thing going for her. She is the aunt of our local MP, Rupert FitzWell. This name was powerful enough for Thomas to stop the digger.

The problem is “what now”. Rupert like most UK members of parliament is extremely busy leaving the EU. He is part of Rees-Mogg’s mob who are more determined than most to absolutely definitely leave. Then they want to return to the 1950s and their nannies. So sadly our MP doesn’t have a lot of time to champion our cause.

“He gave a stirring speech about the “the earth, sky and sea” being the common inheritance of mankind.”

Thomas did manage to call an emergency meeting of the management committee. He gave a stirring speech about the “the earth, sky and sea” being the common inheritance of mankind. Not sure how this related to our car park but it seemed to work. They have backed down.

However the management company are now claiming they don’t need the management committee’s OK to the carpark extension anyway. In the small print of leases, they retained total control over the common space along with the right to ground rent.

Thomas has now started researching civil disobedience manuals. He has even purchased hand cuffs to attach himself to any digger that comes near our lawn. He has also made common cause with the campaign against ground rent extortion. I am sure a sensible legal solution will be found.

Ettie Kett
Ms Ettie Kett provides advice on modern manners. Please send your requests for advice to msettiekett@themintmagazine.com

This week Mr Crenshaw writes from Cirencester.

Dear Miss Kett
I have a female friend who whines incessantly that she spends all her time during the theatre interval waiting in a queue for the Ladies’ lavatory. She laments that she never has the chance of a G&T. She has started going to the Gents’. Frankly she’s becoming embarrassing. What should I do?

Dear Mr Crenshaw
What a pity your Mama never told you that little boys that don’t share come to a bad end.

Good manners are always inclusive. You fail to appreciate that whilst you may well be able to whip out the old trouser snake in a trice, women have different needs. The Victorians originated the over-provision of male facilities and made no provision at all for women. It was a way of keeping women out of public places.

Since equality is based on respecting need you are exhibiting all the signs of a Victorian male. Women were fully enfranchised in 1931. Equality seems to be taking a little longer. If I were your female friend, I would expect your support or take my charms elsewhere. I admire your companion’s courage in negotiating the Gents’. In my experience, it is always a little whiffy.

Sincerely yours

Ms Ettie Kett

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *