Editor’s Comment: October 2019

Living the perceived dangers of being inside the Beverston Triangle

Living the perceived dangers of being inside the Beverston Triangle - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

What should one put in their ‘Grab Bag’ of essential supplies for an emergency? And when do these would-be censors go too far? There’s plenty for our editor to mull over this month…

Police forces across the country have been advising "customers" to put together something called a Grab Bag of essential supplies and equipment in case of emergencies. Police in Scotland "took to Twitter" to encourage users to pack a bag with stuff like a first aid kit, radio, torch, food and water, plus medication, important documents and other personal items. The idea is that in the event of an emergency, you can Grab your Bag and leg it down the road.

Unsurprisingly, I have a number of questions. The diagram the police issued to go with this scaremongering nonsense showed the above items along with a small water bottle and a chocolate bar. That, presumably, is "food and water". There is also a silhouette of a pair of socks labelled "seasonal clothing". Other stuff includes power-dependent kit like a mobile phone, radio and flashlight (although I accept that the last two can be hand-powered).

I would make a few sensible additions. Cheese, for a start. I see no mention of cheese. Quite remarkable. Those two half packets of antibiotics at the back of the cupboard (come on, we all keep them "just in case"). And a bottle of decent brandy would act as an anaesthetic in at least two ways.

Next, what kind of emergency are we running from? It can't be flooding because I live up a hill in the South Cotswolds with the nearest water source being the small village pond 400 yards away. Nor do we have a looming dam. I suppose it might be something Brexit-related. A lorryload of anti-Zombie vaccine held up at Calais perhaps? The troublesome Welsh storming across the Severn Vale again?

I suspect that it'll be something far more prosaic. As a friend pointed out a couple of weeks ago as those B52 bombers soared over a Cotswold garden party, we live inside the Beverston Triangle - several hundred square miles of rural idyll framed by GCHQ to the north, Brize Norton to the east and Fairford to the south. When it comes to desirable targets, we're up there with that teddy bear on the top shelf of the fairground shooting gallery.

So it'll be me and Mrs Lowe, clad only in socks and clutching our melting KitKats, who'll be wandering down the deserted A46 with our Grab Bags as the multi-coloured horizon goes boom and turns into something out of one of those Raymond Briggs books.

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Knowing a little about the age profile of this magazine's readers - no, don't panic; you're not all creaking old fogies - I thought I'd better alert you to what The Young People are getting up to behind your backs. You know The Young People - the ones obsessed with telling everyone else what to do, what to say and what to think.

A couple of months ago the Royal Mint turned down a proposal to pay tribute to legendary children's author Enid Blyton with a commemorative coin because she was known as "a racist, sexist, homophobe and a not very well-regarded writer."

Whoa! Hang on there, Mr Tinbasher. That certainly wasn't the case in my childhood home. The Famous Five, Malory Towers, the Secret Seven - all were devoured with lashings of ginger beer. And let's not forget Noddy and Big Ears.

Where the would-be censors go wrong is in applying 2019 values to works written in the 1930s. And that's why Roald Dahl is now in the dock over some of his unpleasant female characters while having Jack of the Beanstalk beaten with a hoover attachment. As for Roger Hargreaves, I'm sure it never occurred to him that having Mr Men and Little Misses would end up with him getting a sound thrashing on GMB.

For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor

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