WE don’t hear much these days about the Liberal Democrats, and now I know why.
All six of them have been extremely busy behind the scenes, counting potholes.
And they recently announced that in the UK, we have 556,658 of the damn things.
Which is very nearly one for every immigrant.
We like to think that Africa’s roads are bad, but I drove through Senegal the other day and it was like rolling over the marbled floor of a billionaire’s snooker room.
When a Swiss watchmaker wants to describe his new product, he will say: “It’s as perfect as a Senegalese motorway.”
Things are very different here.
Every other day we read about some poor soul whose life has been turned upside down, sometimes literally, after hitting a crater in the road.
Only this week, a single mum called Alisha Howe was hospitalised after her Ford flipped because it hit a pothole in Northamptonshire.
Last year, I smashed into a hole so big there were dinosaurs living at the bottom of it, and it felt like my spine had momentarily appeared out of the top of my head.
Two tyres were destroyed by the impact, and since they were made in a factory in Ukraine, I had to wait three months for replacements.
There’s one road near where I live which doesn’t have any potholes, because they can only form when there’s an actual road surface. And there isn’t. It’s gone.
Endless years of rain and frost and traffic turned it into a sort of gravel, and now that’s been washed away.
Will it ever be repaired? Doubt it. Not when the local council is on a permanent pronoun awareness awayday.
Last year, the Welsh government forked out £1.1million in compensation to one person who was injured by a pothole.
In Hampshire, the county council is facing 1,175 damage claims.
The AA says it received 52,000 road surface-related callouts, which is a 29 per cent jump from the year before.
To make matters worse, modern cars with all their safety features are heavy.
Especially if they use batteries to move about.
Which means they need firm suspension to keep them vaguely level.
And firm suspension is exactly what you don’t need on a cratered road.
We are told that the cost of mending the nation’s potholes is £14billion, and that cash-strapped councils can’t possibly afford a bill that big.
I’ve suggested in the past that people should be allowed to mend potholes themselves.
And Rod Stewart famously did just that near his home in Essex last year. But this is frowned upon by councils.
Especially those run by swivel-eyed lunatics who think cars are the work of Satan and that driving one to work will cause an extinction-level event.
But I think that if you’re a healthy, taxpaying citizen with a job and a family, only three things are really bothering you at the moment.
Immigration. Crime. And potholes.
So something has to be done about it, and I have an idea.
We do what the Senegalese have done. And the Rwandans, for that matter.
We give the Chinese all the mineral rights to what lies beneath our feet — so they can have the coal we don’t want anyway.
And in exchange, they install a whole new road network. Simples.
App has turned me into a twit-cher
SO far this week I’ve walked into two trees, an electric fence and a rabbit hole.
This is because I’ve just installed an app on my phone called Merlin, and it’s the best thing ever.
It listens out for bird song then tells you in real time what you’re hearing.
So I just walk along all the time glued to the screen, saying: “Wow, a dunnock.”
After a couple of days, I told a cameraman who works on the farm show all about it and this morning, while listening to a barn swallow, we walked into each other.
Cruel home truth
RESIDENTS at the Abbeyfield old people’s home in my local village were summoned to the common room recently and told the home can no longer be operated “sustainably”.
So it will be closed down.
One poor chap, who’s blind and in his nineties, burst into tears.
Abbeyfield is registered as a charity that was founded by a war hero and a friend of Mother Teresa, the late Richard Carr-Gomm.
He sounds like he was a very decent man and I’m not sure he would have been especially thrilled to hear people in one of his homes are to be booted out.
I’m sure there are financial considerations in making the property meet idiotic green energy targets.
But surely, these could be sorted out with a couple of bring-and-buy events and a chat with the residents’ families and loved ones.
I HAVE a message this morning to the militant vegans who kidnapped three spring lambs from a farm in Norfolk this week.
I will kill and eat a sprig of asparagus every hour, on the hour, until they are released.
Newts just in
A NEWT with devil horns and a racing stripe down its back has been discovered in Thailand.
And now researchers are saying it’s already facing extinction.
How do they know? If it’s only just been discovered, it can’t ever have been very common.
Maybe the opposite is true. It’s just been created and soon there will be millions of them.
Hug a thug crime
AN all-points bulletin was issued by crack police commanders in Chipping Norton this week after a man was seen behaving strangely at our Diddly Squat farm shop.
Hurriedly I checked our CCTV footage and, sure enough, at 6.36 in the morning, a man pulled up in what police described as a “grey saloon”, but which was actually a Mercedes CLS500 with AMG wheels.
It stopped. And then it lurched forwards. And then it stopped again.
And then the passenger door was flung open, and a dog jumped out. Before it lurched forward again.
Eventually, a man emerged from behind the wheel, carrying a bottle of prosecco.
He tried the doors of the shop before removing the cork and spraying the contents over his Mercedes.
He then climbed on to its roof and did a dance, causing considerable damage, before realising he’d run out of booze.
So he tried the locked door to the room where we keep the Hawkstone lager, before engaging in a frantic search for the key.
And then, when he was found by a member of staff, he asked for a hug.
Yup. This is crime in the Cotswolds. A man sprays prosecco all over the place, does a dance on his Mercedes, and then asks for a hug.
A high – then it’s bye
A NEW zombie drug called xylazine is sweeping the country, and it’s hard to see why.
When you watch someone munching their way through a sherry trifle at four in the morning or chatting endlessly about themselves to strangers outside a nightclub, you can sort of see the appeal of what they’ve taken.
But xylazine is different.
It causes extremely painful skin ulcers, then it paralyses you and then you die.
It’s hard to see why anyone would watch someone taking that, then think: “Mmmm. That looks like fun.”
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