John Bone: When Mother Nature is in the dock

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I am an almost obsessive gardener yet I feel very uneasy about the way a Newmarket couple have been treated over their “unsightly” plot. The Bordas of Edinburgh Road were summoned before Bury Magistrates for breaking a Forest Heath instruction to take axes and saws to their overgrown front and back gardens because they were “a nuisance.”

Cllr Lance Stanbury explained that his council “has a desire and duty to encourage a sense of pride in our district.” He said that if a householder “causes a nuisance by allowing their gardens to become unsightly we do have powers to compel them to rectify the problem.”

Sometimes I wonder why we bothered to stop the Nazi jackboot landing on our shores. We can manage the job without them. I am sure the naughty Bordas may have driven some of their nice, neat tidy-minded neighbours to distraction but is it not odd that millions of pounds are spent by great experts to create “wild, uncultivated” gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show, yet when someone does it for nothing and just lets nature rip, the law comes down on them like a ton of bricks.

Is this the England of rebellious oddity and admirable eccentricity other nations admire in us?

I only asked.

The FA have said it’s ok so I suppose the Thurlow Nunn League must know what they’re up to but starting the football season in July, a full fortnight earlier than last year, seems a rum move.

Crowded calendars and climate change may mean the end of sporting seasons as we know them, I guess, but cricket on Christmas Day will take some getting used to. Snowballs rather than no balls.

On your knees and give thanks for a chink of light in a fashion for making our kids think it is a sin to get dirty let alone take considered risks. The Wildawood Forest School at Chippenham offers children a precious opportunity to meet the physical world about us that is denied their unfortunate friends whose eyes stay glued to game screens and smartphones. At Melissa Murfet’s novel Rosewood Stud kids can climb and clamber, try archery and run around even if it’s raining. In other words, gain confidence by testing themselves in the real world.

As an old codger who led a feral youth in the countryside, lighting fires, shinning up trees, I weep for many young people today whose formative years are confined by caring parents who do not realise what harm their love does. I was a happy little boy and I’ve got the scarred knee caps to prove it.

If you seek signs that English standards are alive and well undiluted by other superficially seductive cultures then you need look no further than a fete at Cheveley on the 19th which will offer pony rides, Morris dancing and Punch and Judy. None of that Disnefied soap stars stuff, eh?

I see an award-winning Australian “comedy hypnotist” is coming to Haverhill. His “hilarious” show promises “real fun … for all ages” but not, I suggest, all people. Me, for example.

Does it count as a royal visit in the Buckingham Palace statistics when Prince William drops in with his heli-ambulance as he did at West Fen Road Ely the other day? There must be some earnest bean counter for Her Majesty who makes sure no part of the country gets more than a fair share of royal attention (excluding Newmarket Regis, of course, because we are a special case). So keep your eyes peeled for a yellow chopper. It’s your royal ration for ages.

For the second time this year election officials in this area have made mistakes in organisation. Both were quickly corrected but it is surprising they happened at all. Is someone placing too much trust in “computers and too little faith in the human hand?

I hope Regal Lodge, Lillie Langtry’s old pad at Kentford, finds a settled and loving new owner soon. The ghost of Edward VII’s mistress must be feeling quite slighted because of the time it’s taking. Hell hath no fury ….