Of the species is deadlier etc?  No?  Oh well, back to the original plan…

I may have hinted that the weather over the last few months has been a immodestly moist and bracingly breezy.  I shall now go even deeper into the territory of the Daily Heil and form a tenuous link to the frequency of refuse collection.  Fear not, I shall continue to avoid blaming foreigners and or the young for everything at variance with my increasingly narrow world-view and shall make no claims as to which objects or concepts might cause or cure cancer.

As a result of recent climatic conditions, in front of the bike store where my modest selection of velocipedes shelter from the elements (spoiler: the store provides little protection from gaseous molecular nitrogen or oxygen) there is a definite strand-line.  At present, this pseudo-beach is mostly covered by drift wood – I have yet to spot a mermaid’s purse or beached jellyfish, but I’m not much more than a mile from the sea so it’s probably only a matter of time before one finds its way here.

For reasons best known to itself, the city council has not collected our glass recycling for a good six weeks now.  If they leave it much longer (given the bottle-rich time of year), I should have enough raw material to establish my own glass recycling business!  As a result of the build-up, I have been sorely tempted to put one of the many uncollected bottles to use.  My plan is to place a written message within the bottle and leave it, under cover of darkness, on the nearby strand-line for some child or gullible adult to discover.  I think I shall distress the message using some cold tea to give the feeling of antiquity and will write in a foreign language and include a cry for help – but beyond this basic conceit I’m struggling for killer content.  Any ideas will be gratefully received and may appear as a story in The Echo is weeks to come (if my plan is a success).

Oh, the title?  Well, it struck me that a message-in-a-bottle could be considered vitreous mail.


Getting the boot

Many of us, though by no means all, will find ourselves in a soi disant new year.  Many of you will already be surrounded by the broken shards of your resolutions – a fate I neatly side-step by never making any.

To add to the sense of jollity and mirth which characterises this time of year, kindly Father Janus has brought me a cold in his bulging sack.  The two-faced wretch!  So I find myself writing between sneezes, surrounded by discarded tissues (please try and lift those minds free of the gutter for just a moment).

The weather seems to have paid little attention to the currently fashionable calendar, even one followed by a sizable a portion of humanity.  It has begun 2016 much as it ended 2015, with yet more rain and strong winds and despite shaving a degree or two off the temperature remains unseasonably mild (or so it seems to those of us relying on recent history to form a view as to what is seasonally appropriate).  As my waterproofs are continually put to the test (and not always found sufficient to the task), I like to imagine that if Southampton is copping a load, then perhaps northern England will be spared.  Sadly, the weather doesn’t seem to work in quite that way and there seems to be more than enough sky-borne water to go round.

Despite the south coast having seen less rain than much of the country (and possessing a rather quicker route back to the sea for that which does fall), it is still becoming an increasing challenge to find walking routes around town where the water level does not overtop the protection offered by even the tallest of my shoes.  As a result, I find myself considering the purchase and use of wellington boots for the first time since my childhood.  I recall them as being rather uncomfortable and sweaty back in the 1970s, but surely we have made vast technological strides (and I don’t mean mechanical, antipodean trousers) since then? .  Hopefully, we haven’t devoted too much attention to shaving a tenth of a millimetre off the depth of the next generation of mobile phones and as a consequence neglected the humble wellie.

A little research suggests that there is quite the range of wellies available to suit even the most bloated of pockets, including something described as a ‘surf wellie’ (which I imagine is nearly as practical as an ironing wellie or ballet wellie).  I rather fear I may have to sample some of the Iron Duke’s eponymous footwear to ensure it meets my exacting requirements.  The purchase will be overshadowed by the fear that as soon as I am suitably shod, the rain will cease and be immediately replaced by a hosepipe ban: still, I am willing to ‘take one for the team’.

But now I must leave you and return my head to a bowl of steaming water, to which a few drops of Olbas oil have been added.  This oil, despite an expiry date safely in the last millennium, seems to remain surprisingly potent.  I reckon the bottle contains another seven years worth of contents at the current rate of usage – which made it a surprisingly good buy back in the 1990s.