The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - March 24, 2016

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I was driving along the coastal road in St Annes the other day (stick with this, it does get better, marginally), when I got involved in what I believe is known as road rage.

I say got involved, it was more a case of someone getting very angry with me, but given the highlight of my day is stopping at Tesco Express on the way home from work to see if they’ve got any Hovis Multigrain on half-price in the whoops aisle, it was all jolly exciting nonetheless.

The incident – for I believe it does merit the term incident – happened near St Annes pier (which is probably an unnecessary detail, but I like to properly set the scene; the tutor on my creative writing course advised me to do it).

There were cars parked on the opposite side of the road, but not on my side. This is a crucial detail as – and I believe anyone who has a vague grasp of the laws of the road will know this – it means, technically, it is the motorists coming from the opposite direction who should give way.

So there I was, tootling along while listening to my ‘Michael Bolton – Best Of’ CD (there’s two tracks on it), when I saw a vehicle approaching on the other side of the road, about 100 yards away.

Like I say, there were cars on his side of the road, not mine, so I continued to drive on, figuring he’d stop and wait for me to pass through. But he pulled out and around the parked cars and continued himself.

If we’d both carried on we would have had a head-on collision, which, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t keen on.

So I stopped. He didn’t, ploughing on towards me. Then, as he drew level, he wound down the window and screamed in my direction.

This is the Gazette, not Viz, so I’ve replaced his expletives with the word yoghurt.

’What the yoghurt yoghurt do you yoghurt think you are yoghurt playing at?’ he bellowed, startling a poor elderly lady who happened to be wandering past.

‘Yoghurt you, you massive yoghurt. Now yoghurt off.’

As he was doing this he angrily waved his fist at me.

I was a trifle miffed – after all, I hadn’t done anything wrong – but as he looked a big fella and I didn’t want to end up a front page headline in the next day’s Daily Mail (‘Journalist killed by mad-man in gruesome road-rage attack’), I sort of blankly stared at him.

What I wanted to do, of course, was lean out of the window and explain that, under the rules of the Highway Code – first published by the Department of Transport in 1931 (the first edition cost one penny and contained 18 pages of advice, including arm signals to be given by drivers) – he was at fault and should have given way because the parked cars were on his side of the road.

However, had I done this, I’m guessing he wasn’t the sort of enlightened, reasoned individual who would have stopped ranting and said ‘oh, I didn’t know that; I’m so sorry my dear friend, I apologise for not only my foul language and behaviour but for my shoddy driving too’. No, he was the kind of chap who would have instead responded with a few more yoghurts, and then got out of his car and whacked me over the head with a shovel. So I kept quiet, waited for him to pass, and drove on.

I told Mrs Canavan my story when I got home and waited for her to show some sympathy and side with me.

“I’ve seen your driving,” she remarked, without looking up from an article in Women’s Weekly about which moisturiser Michelle Obama, uses. “I bet you were in the wrong.”

With friends like that…

Feeding the cat is a fishy business

I wear wellington boots each time I open a can of tuna.

This is not one of those weird superstitions that I really don’t get (like not crossing on the stairs – why on earth would passing someone as you climbed up a stairway bring bad fortune?)

No, the wellies are to save my ankles from getting seriously scratched.

The problem is this. I have a cat, Percival, that comes hurtling towards me at the speed of George Osborne shafting the poor and launches a physical attack on my lower leg whenever I even so much as wave the tin opener in the direction of a can of tuna.

It is quite remarkable to witness.

Wherever he is in the house – or even sometimes if he’s playing down the far end of the street with his friends Derek and Colin – he will come running as soon as the tuna is opened.

I asked friends about this and many have had similar experiences with their moggy.

One colleague at the Gazette tells me his elderly cat spends its entire life immobile in the back bedroom, the closest it gets to exercise opening one eye.

But as soon as tuna is opened, he’s down the stairs like Usain Bolt and pawing at his bowl.

It is highly annoying in our house because one tin of tuna just about feeds Mrs Canavan and I, but because we now have to give Percival some as well, we go short just so he’s satisfied.

Honestly, the things we do for our animals.