The Duke - April 22, 2015

Is there any need for people to litter?

Is there any need for people to litter?

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I’m not a prude and I’m certainly not the tidiest person in the world, but two things which really get me hot under the collar appear to be on the increase.

And they are? Public swearing and litter.

All right I might have to modify that bit about not being a prude – and I’m only untidy around the house (and I suppose in the car).

I only mention this because, when we had a brief sample of summer last week, The Manager and I were in Blackpool and fancied a bit of alfresco lunch outside one of the pleasant establishments in the Cedar Square area.

What could be nicer than sitting in the sun sipping an Americano and watching the world go by? I’ll tell you what could be – and that would be not having to listen to a trio of people sitting in the same sun (but not at the same café) swigging their extra strong lagers and ciders and swearing at the top of their voices.

We moved indoors, grumbled to the café owner who phoned the Blackpool Town Centre Business Improvement District Ltd (BID) offices and was promised someone would be sent to sort it out.

Someone was, but not before two community police patrol officers had strolled by and ignored the offenders – and not before three more booze swillers had swelled the number of human pigeons, putting off untold numbers of potential diners from filling the continental style tables.

Granted, when the BID representative arrived, he politely moved the drinkers and swearers on, admitting the first ones were well known to him and the second trio just hadn’t realised they shouldn’t be drinking alcohol in public.

I know I should be able to turn the other cheek – or at least wear ear muffs – but if I’d had a young family in tow (and isn’t Blackpool hellbent on re-establishing itself as a family friendly resort?) I would have been heading back to the car and hoping I wasn’t going to be asked too many questions about what certain words meant.

Maybe it was just an unlucky week for me, but the following evening I was dropping Mrs D off at a cinema where she’d booked to see something intellectual while I did the “big shop”.

Making sure she got from the car to the ticket collection point without having to listen to someone’s hard luck story (last time I went I was confronted by a young lady who insisted “I have been locked out of my flat. My money, phone and credit cards are inside. I need cash to get to friends to help me out. Will you help?”) I saw her inside.

But first we had to wade through empty burger bags, suitcase-sized popcorn cartons, ice cream packaging and various other detritus.

I realise it’s not the cinema’s fault that some of their “guests” are just slobs, but it’s no reason to completely ignore the litter in the hopes that it will go away – which, of course, with a good gust of wind it will, at least to somewhere else.

And don’t even get me onto why there’s no friendly welcoming box office area at the cinema anymore – just a choice of machines or the already overworked staff flogging all the profitable cinema add-ons.

Anyway, like I say, I’m no prude, so I won’t be investing in a Clean Reader app which replaces all the swear words in e-books, making it safe to read the likes of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Trainspotting without blushing.

It even has a squeaky clean option which will change mild expletives such as “God” to “Goodness.” I can’t wait to read Two Shades of Grey.

It’s time to get the eyes tested again

I wear glasses. I have done since I was hit in the face with a cricket ball while watching a charity cricket match as a boy.

It knocked my left eye out of sync and left me with (a) a great reluctance to watch cricket again and (b) a tendency to suffer from double vision.

I don’t like wearing glasses, but have never had the bottle to experiment with contact lenses.

It takes me ages to choose new spectacle frames – largely because I’m haunted by memories of my early Buddy Holly black ones, and later ill-advised colourful Elton John lookalikes.

So, like many things in my life, I put it off for as long as possible.

But this week I have finally got round to booking what used to be called an eye test, but is now an “NHS eye health check.”

I would have put it off longer, except my double vision seems to have gone into reverse – especially when wearing glasses.

It’s at its worse when visiting Bloomfield Road and has been getting worse (like the football itself) as this lamentable season has gone on.

Last weekend, against Fulham, I’m sure I clocked no more than 4,500 supporters, yet the match stats claimed 10,122.

Time for an eye test and some new glasses ready for next season – preferably rose coloured ones.