Ital­ians get­ting wheel over im­por­tant is­sues

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION - Ev­ery week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­

YOU may be pon­der­ing who to vote for in the forth­com­ing gen­eral elec­tion, but I re­cently heard some­thing that would def­i­nitely have swayed me in the polling booth.

Au­thor­i­ties in Venice were said to be ac­tu­ally, se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing ban­ning wheelie suit­cases from their his­toric, wa­tery realm. The Ital­ians ap­peared to be say­ing they were too noisy and dam­aged the paving stones.

When Mr F worked in cen­tral London, he cursed them almost as much as the ruck­sacks that clogged up the un­der­ground trains. I was ir­ri­tated by the lack of aware­ness in trav­ellers who trip peo­ple up.

But we are turn­coats – or turn-cases – and, hav­ing con­verted to the cult of ‘wheel­ieness’, we revel in avoid­ing pulled mus­cles or strained backs on the way to the air­port or sta­tion.

We do keep an eye on our cases and give the odd hand sig­nal or ver­bal warn­ing, but in the event of an un­ex­pected an­kle-bash­ing, we find it is best to mut­ter an apol­ogy and move swiftly on. OK, it all turned out to be a mis­un­der­stand­ing – ap­par­ently things got a bit lost in trans­la­tion – but on such mea­sures do gov­ern­ments stand or fall (or roll away?), as far as I’m con­cerned.

Another news item that caught my eye was the Bri­tish cou­ple who were wrongly ac­cused of start­ing a for­est fire in Greece.

The man was a tu­tor of An­cient Greek who loved the coun­try. After be­ing ar­rested, he was kept in a cell with a hole-in-the-floor lava­tory, three smelly blan­kets and no pillows or mat­tress. He was at first re­fused food and le­gal help.

It re­minded me of Uxbridge plane spot­ter Peter Nor­ris, who had been (wrongly again) ar­rested in Greece along with sev­eral oth­ers for be­ing a spy in 2001 and was treated equally badly. But never mind about Greece de­cid­ing peo­ple are guilty un­til proved in­no­cent or whether we should stay in the EU, keep your eye on the wheelie cases is­sue, be­cause we may need a ref­er­en­dum. Would you be in or out?

A curb on im­mi­gra­tion? Pah! It’s cases on kerbs I’m wor­ried about.

Any­one who prom­ises never to touch the wheel­ies gets my vote.

■ So good to hear that film di­rec­tor Mike Leigh of Mr Turner fame is a fan of the Gazette and this col­umn. How­ever we mustn’t get car­ried away. I don’t think that Bm@il:The Movie will be ap­pear­ing at Uxbridge Odeon any time soon...

Email me at bmail­bar­bara@gmail. com or catch up at www.getwest­thors/bar­bara-fisher/.

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