Charlotte Bennie with Another Great Tale – Feral Road Signs

Well! It’s gone. Vanished into the outer darkness. The Man at Work road sign which has been roosting on the pavement leading down to the kirk, shops, cinema and other trappings of civilisation for the past few months has finally disappeared.

Actually, roosting wasn’t the best word to use, as it didn’t sit in the same place. If it had, things would have been fine. Unfortunately, like the herds of wildebeest on the Serengeti plains, it was constantly on the move. Sometimes, it leant against the wall; sometimes it lay, face down, filling what is, at best, a size 12 pavement; sometimes, it stood, all perky and defiant, not only blocking the pavement but just the right height to scrape the unwary shin.
As a blinkie, it annoyed me, not knowing where the blasted item would be every time I ventured out. Quite apart from giving extra work to Miss Pupkin. Mind you, compared to an unfinished bit of resurfacing started by some utility in our street, eventually being finished over a year later, a feral road sign running amok from about May until early August isn’t bad. And, it took only two phone calls to the Cooncil department which announces itself as “Wigtown!”to have the errant item captured and returned to wherever such things normally live.
No, what really got me beelin mad is that no one, not one of all the other folk who must have either hopped off the kerb or delicately hopped across the thing bothered to do anything about it. Were they quite happy to indulge in acrobatics? Is their opinion of public services so low, they just don’t bother to request anything which would improve public spaces? Or is this another example of the mind set of, “Och! Some ither body wull soart this oot.”
In the next few days, someone is bound to remark to me, “Ah see yon road sign has gone. Ye’ll be fair delighted; it must have been a richt nuisance tae ye.” Damned right it has been a nuisance. Nuisance and health hazard.
While on the phone to “Wigtown!”, I remarked to the long suffering, wee soul, that she must be fed up with my phone calls but, being blind, I was always concerned about pavement hazards; missing toby covers, yawning potholes, wobbly slabs and, yes, roving road signs. And, of course, if nobody tells the system these problems exist, the system isn’t going to fix them.
Several years ago, this same pavement was blocked by a huge sign. So big, even I could almost make out the pointing arrow on it, telling motorists the road was closed and they’d have to drive, literally, all round the houses, to reach the town. Miss Pupkin and I negotiated the thing for a few days, awaiting a utility to appear and turn the street, yet again, into a segment of the trenches of the western Front. This street is dug up so often, I think the utilities use it as a training ground. Nobody appeared so, eventually, I phoned “Wigtown!”, demanding to know which utility was going to attack the tarmac and when. The wee soul was delighted I’d phoned. I’d solved a mystery. One of their road signs had gone awol, a big sign with a pointing arrow. No one knew where. Presumably, some of the school’s lads had taken it jist fur a quo, as it should have been presiding over roadworks causing trouble and fash over the hill beyond the school.
Now, this sign had blocked the wrong road, making life difficult for school buses as well as motorists and created awkwardness for pedestrians. If anyone had searched for it, they hadn’t tried very hard, since it hadn’t strayed far. Then eventually, I had resolved the situation. Me! I’m not typing this in a state of smugness but in a state of beelin madness. Other people, such as the school management had been quite happy to ignored the thing.
Perhaps with the current vogue for films starring super heroes, some budding Spielberg should consider one telling of the adventures of the Road Sign Retriever? The wee wifie, who with her trusty sidekick, Miss Pupkin, clears pavements of Men at work triangles; corrals flocks of wheelie bins; and forces BT, Scottish Water et alii to leave our streets as they were originally designed to be.

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