Monday, 7 October 2013

Well it ain't Health-and-Safety now, init?

Well it ain't Health-and-Safety now, init?
7 October 2013

So my sister and her family, are freshly home after a five year stint in the UK.  And quite predictably, they have been regaling us with many tales of their adventures over there.  Even though we spoke regularly and had lots of contact via the phone, WhatsApp, Facebook, e-mail, Skype, etc. nothing quite compares with a real face to face chat.  And two and half weeks after their arrival, we are still doing non-stop rounds of catching up.  I wonder if it will ever end?  There is still so much to tell and find out.  A process we are all delighting in.

And we have all been marvelling at their stories of life in the UK.  And I think for them, having a bit of distance away from their life in England, certain things are simply jumping out at them.  How rigid and strict life in the UK is, especially as compared to the slightly more laidback life in sunny SA. 

Some things, we take for granted over here, are just not quite as simple over there.  Stuff we don’t even think about and hardly notice at all, seem foreign to them once more. 

I remember leaving the airport after fetching them (we were actually a convoy – three cars in total) and driving past a heavily loaded flatbed truck, with mattresses stacked almost up to the clouds.  To give the driver his due, they were strapped down.  Which is a wonderful bonus to start off with.  Although to be honest, the leaning tower of bedding veered rather alarmingly to the right.  I barely batted an eye, as this kind of thing is par for the course in Africa you see.  And I proceeded to overtake him in the fast lane.  Katrine on the other hand, found this all rather alarming, and as the flatbed truck was closest to her side of the car, she nearly ended up sitting on my lap.  She claimed that in England it would just never have happened.  One just doesn’t see stuff like that all around.  Cause, well, it ain’t Health-and-Safety now, init? 

Quite a lot seems to be ruled and controlled by Health and Safety apparently.  As the British government continually strives to keep their ever loyal subjects safe and out of harm’s way.  Perhaps this is partly due to the fact the NHS free health care system would be tapped dry, if they didn’t exercise a small measure of control and common sense.  And so it appears that a lot of things are policed for safety sakes.  In the interest of the many.  Even though I suspect the many find this rather restricting and annoying at the same time.

One such instance happened to my fifteen year old nephew at school.  Cory was in his science class one day, when they had to do an experiment of sorts.  The kids were required to stand up and hold a plastic ruler vertically in one outstretched hand.  The experiment called for them to let go of the ruler and time how fast their reflexes had to be for them to be able to catch the ruler once they had released it, before it fell on to the floor.  I know – basic, basic, basic.  Still in the interest of Health and Safety, all twenty six kids in the class had to don white lab coats, sport a pair of safety glasses and get kitted out in steel capped safety boots.  I suppose you never can be safe enough.  Just imagine a rogue plastic ruler, weighing about 15gr, impaled some poor kid in his fourth toe on the left foot.  And so to our standards, this seems ludicrous.  And ever so slightly bizarre.  But I believe that by Health And Safety rules, it sounds just about right.

Though I can perhaps even go so far as to better that story.  Because whereas Health and Safety, is there to protect the lives and limbs of the fair people of Queen’s Realm, what about her animals?  Well, fear not, I tell you.  The EU, FBAS and Animal Welfare Act is quite happy to step up to the plate when it comes to that.

And so, one fine day, my hapless brother-in-law nipped down to the local pet shop to get a mate/friend/acquaintance for their lonesome goldfish, named Lady Gaga.  The family had been feeling a bit sorry for her, as she had no companion.  She has been spending her solitary days, swimming in circles.  And they thought that it would be the humane thing to do, to get her a little buddy.  I suppose they might even have thought that their selfless act of animal love would get them some bonus points from the EU, FBAS and Animal Welfare Act, in fact.

One can also be forgiven for thinking that this would be an easy task.  The only complexity being exactly which goggly-eyed goldfish to choose.  But this was not to be.  Upon approaching the counter, Robin claimed that a rainbow-hair-coloured-be-pierced-and-tattooed shop assistant, leaned under her “desk” and hauled out a form.  Yes, a form.  Said form had to be completed before the goldfish would be allowed to leave the premises.  This all courtesy of some or other legal red tape or other.  Implemented by who can quite tell.  Supposedly to protect the best interests of the unsuspecting goldfish.

Questions included, “What are you planning on housing your goldfish in?”.  As well as, “Exactly how big is your bowl?”.  Followed by, “How many other occupants in your fish bowl?”.  And let’s not forget, “How regularly do you clean your bowl?”.

But to Robin’s mind at least, the winning question, had to go to, “Are you going straight home?”.

Apparently Robin said that he had to fight an overwhelming desire, not to say, “Yes, I’m going straight home to my house with kippers in the freezer, tinned tuna in the cupboard and some salmon in the fridge.”

But maybe Health-and-Safety quite simply doesn’t apply to edible fish…

Speaking of which.  In an act of malicious rebellion perhaps, Lady Gaga’s new chum (not sure he was ever named), successfully managed to bully and eventually off Lady Gaga two days after taking residence in her bowl. 

Perhaps he got tired of her Poker Face…

Please click and LIKE on Facebook - Thanx!



No comments:

Post a Comment