Mud On the Road

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But I Am Not a Mote

Posted by Deborah Courtnell

 The Telly Yeoman, Invisible Peeping Toms & The Motion Sensor Light

     4.40 p.m. It’s already dark outside. There's nothing quite like the clocks going back to remind you how impotent and small you are in the Great Scheme of Things.

     Happily I am not afflicted by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but I know many people who are and I know that it's at this exact time of year they begin to feel 'it' is all rather futile.
Sunset, an hour earlier now it's Winter
I am Not a Mote!

     Because now Winter will set in willy-nilly, as Winter is wont to do. Then Christmas will be upon us followed by the arrival of 2013, promising great things but delivering only January, which has  everyone feeling broke and a bit damp and peeled around the edges.

     On and on it goes and you're powerless to stop it and there's simply no point wasting time being Eeyore-ish about it because before you know where you are you'll be dead and then you'll be wishing you'd been more up and at life like Richard Branson or Adam Henson.

     Adam Henson is the burly, jolly farmer who presents stuff about farming on the BBC's Countryfile . I call him the Telly Yeoman - though I suspect the land Adam farms is worth somewhat more per annum than the 40 shillings which would originally have qualified him for the title. Enfranchised, entitled to serve as jurors, essentially middle class and middle England, Yeomen were the backbone of England, the salt of the earth prototype.

     Farmer Adam is to the BBC what oaks are to England. As a  pre-watershed presenter Adam is the BBC's pride and joy; he is wholesome and locally sourced, organic and sustainable. Yes, the Telly Yeoman is about everything the BBC wants to stand for but is struggling to just now.

     Shedley, who has great respect for all things agricultural, admires the Telly Yeoman tremendously for his stoicism and robust shouldering of obstacles both natural and man-made, from Bovine Tuberculosis  to death threats, from the ghastliness of the Schmallenberg Virus to RAIN: too much, non-stop,  torrential rain and yet more rain.

      I suspect Shedley would like Farmer Adam to be  Prime Minister or at least Mayor of Stockbridge. Which would be unusual because Adam lives in the Cotswolds.

     I also think that Shedley thinks that I should be a lot more like Adam in the shouldering department and that I should not mind so dreadfully about particular things and in particular that I should not mind so much about the motion sensor light.

     Because, Shedley maintains, very few things really matter.

     We are, according to Shedley, mere motes in The Cosmos.

     He tends to point this out when I'm having a chunter about the energy saving light bulb which, thanks to the EU, he has now put in the motion sensor light in the back garden with the result that I often return from the hen house with more locally sourced agriculture on my shoes than the Telly Yeoman would like to wade through in a lifetime because I can no longer see the back garden.

     Shedley doesn't get why telling me I am a nano speck in the infinitesimal enormity of the universe when I have stepped in and slipped upon faeces parked by creatures of one sort or another, mostly belonging to us, does not make me feel better. Any more than being told about people starving in Uzbekistan would persuade me to eat tripe.

     I don't want to be a speck.  I want to be powerful. I want my say in stuff and I want people to hear me.  And that includes mobile phone companies and the people in charge of road traffic signs. Otherwise, what's the point?
     I'm not talking boss-of-the-world or even Angela Merkel powerful. I just want my light to shine brightly and fully illuminate our little domestic sphere and especially, the path to the hen house.

     I'm not seeking dominion over crawling things or things that go on their bellies.  Though it would be gratifying, once in a while if the dogs would actually come when you call, 'come dogs'. Or if all rats would flee when you said 'flee rats!' And other such orders-into-exile along those lines.

     It would be nice also, with a single, not overly imperious gesture, to be able to slow the traffic which speeds past our house to and from Stockbridge;  better yet, Moses fashion, to halt and part the traffic and command our safe passage to the far side of the road.

     And, warming to the potential of my hypothetical new powers now, to erect, with a single telepathic thought, a sign which would advise drivers that unusual activities, like people crossing roads outside their houses, might be taking place several yards ahead and so hooting, swearing and finger gestures are inappropriate.

     Come to think of it, given executive controls, I would instantly order all digital radios in Stockbridge to receive digital radio this minute and force the broadband to flow faster by lunchtime.
     So no, I do not want to be a mote. I want to stomp about like a Titan in my tea break. I want to be a roaring God-like Gulliver not a peevish Lilliputian.

     As Gulliver I would demand the right to a Gulliver-sized incandescent bulb for the motion sensor light which would then shine out across our garden like a beacon in the dark and not like Shedley's wind-up torch on a foggy afternoon.

     Because, the whole point of the motion sensor light, as I see it, is to light up, brightly, intensely, vividly as soon as the sensor senses motion and thereby expose all the agriculture contained within the garden and even more importantly, deter unwelcome intruders like prowlers and foxes or Peeping Toms.

     But when I point these things out to Shedley, he says, almost beatifically:

     'Do not worry. Such things do not matter. We are motes.'

     He also says, by way of further reassurance, that you never see Peeping Toms anymore, they've gone out of fashion like sandwich toasters and hostess trolleys.

     I say this is illogical since you never actually saw Peeping Toms in the first place - you just knew they were possibly there, peeping and that it would be wise therefore to draw your curtains and pull down your blinds.

     Because surely Peeping Toms are furtive and covert. They want to be invisible. And in our garden they would be because our motion sensor light takes a full five seconds to reach its unimpressive maximum shine which, whatever the unsanctioned purpose of a visit to our garden, allows ample getaway time.

     It's not that I'm against energy saving light bulbs per se. Far from it. I really like them. With the sole exception of their drawbacks as garden or front door lights,  I find their slow-to-peak attitude rather retro and charming, like looking before you leap or engaging your brain before you speak.

     In fact, thinking about it, harnessing energy-saving forms of slow-to-peak brilliance could be the way forward.

     Such a philosophy would alleviate the terrible pressure on our twenty-somethings simultaneously to invent everything, consume everything, save towards their old age and be beautiful and have fun all at the same time. They could concentrate on having fun instead and because every single consumable good would no longer be targeted solely at them they could save a bit on the side.

     By adopting the model of energy saving slow-to-peak brilliance, twenty-somethings will not suffer from burn-out, obesity and premature death. They will ripen slowly like a locally produced, locally sold, locally swallowed strawberry and reach the full fruition of their powers not at 25 but at 65 at which point, they might become a newly abundant and very wise pool of voluntary consultants and advisers, ambassadors  and leaders.

     Or just head of MI6 like Judi Dench as M in Skyfall  - exquisite and elegant in her every line, facial and spoken.

     With citizens older than 23 inventing the sort of stuff that we actually need, we might have very fast, very bright light bulbs to light our way which would have the added benefit of lessening the sadness felt by so many when the clocks go back.


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