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Articles By Mike Rooth


Do any of you have anything like this?
A Cumbrian,given a problem,real *or* imaginary,invents a solution which is so complicated that the problem itself pales into insignificance by comparison.

My late father in law,a true Cumbrian,drank rather more sherry than he wanted his neighbours to know about.The problem was not merely not knowing he *was* drinking the stuff,but disposal of the empties,so the dustbin men wouldnt know,either.Normal mortals would either feed the empties into the bin in penny numbers,or frankly not give a shit *what* the binmen thought, even if they *were* interested in the first place.Not he. The solution was to put a few bottles in the bin,carefully wrapped in paper so they didnt clink.The others were earmarked for disposal in various rubbish bins erected by a thoughtful and caring local council for the use of those people hardy enough to picnic on the local beach.This in itself was a Cumbrian Solution,since no-one in their right mind,even Cumbrians,would ever want to picnic on that bitterly cold windswept,and desolate bit of foreshore.The empties were taken for a ride in the car,and put,not all in the *same* bin,but one or two in each one he came across.This involved a round trip of at least ten miles,at regular intervals,so the locals would undoubtedly be able to set their watches by him...

At a village ten miles along the same shore,a dead whale was washed ashore one particularly stormy night,and lay on the sand with a mega-pong potential in the kiloton range.The locals,noses firmly clamped,rang the self-same council,and informed them of their unwanted visitor. Springing into totally unprecedented action,the council, at great public expense,rouned up two busloads of unemployed men from all over Cumberland,and took them to the scene of the disaster,dumped them,and left. No-one had told them *how* to get rid of the whale,or indeed,given them any tools so they could have any chance of so doing.So they sat around all day and chucked rocks at it until the tide came in and washed it out to sea.... The campus of this university,far from Cumberland,had,or in fact still has,the problem of through traffic.In short, it is a useful shortcut from one side of the town to the other.This tended to make traffic a little heavy for two short periods morning and evening.Something Had To Be Done. At a cost of half a million pounds a Building Was Erected, resembling nothing less the the giraffe house at a zoo,and barriers of the lifting and lowering persuasion were put into place.Everyone was issued with a "swipe" card.Those unfortunates silly enough to hold their breaths waiting for the first day of operation died from asphyxiation, because the whole shooting match sat there,inactive,for a year.Came the great day,two days ago,and the barriers were surrounded with a lot of red-faced men,grovelling in the innards of the electronics of the barrier poles, while the barriers themselves appeared not to have been correctly instructed as to their function,since they sat quivering at about forty five degrees to the vertical. Two days later,and the whole system sits pointing impotently to the sky,presumably from whence cometh its salvation... Once upon a time,we bought my mother in law a table lamp for Christmas.Father in law was detailed off to get the thing "plumbed in" so to speak.A Problem.He began by baring the ends of the cable,by the simple expedient of shoving the cable end in the fire.Dead ingenious these Cumbrians arent they?After a lot of toing and froing (you cant beat a good to and fro,makes you feel *much* better,and ready for your dinner)he finally announced success,and switched the thing on.Wherupon my mother in law enquired from the kitchen as to who had switched on the immersion heater.He turned the lamp off to go and have a look,and mother in law announced the problem was solved because the heater had gone off......
Oh dear.


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