Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Fiction – inspired by life

A lot of people have been talking about someone in Ambridge called Nigel.  I don’t know the details, but the general gist is that he fell from a roof while doing something to a banner.  Sorry if you were hoping for more detail than that, but I don’t follow the details of life in Ambridge. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/the-archers/catchup/ will provide links to the synopses and the possibility of listening again if you’re quick and can access BBC iPlayer.
Anyway, the point is this.  When we first moved into this village some few years ago, shortly before Christmas we became very familiar with the name of Mr Salapello, known locally as Sal.  We still don’t know him, me because I’m not a naturally party-going person and the OH because Sal and his family don’t tend to visit the pubs or join in the amateur dramatic goings-on.  But we certainly know his name, because he ended up in the paper.  This was when the local paper was still delivered free, along with an enormous property section, all of which was very useful for lighting the fire.  (The local paper costs now and doesn’t have so many pictures of houses for sale, presumably because of the housing market’s decline, but that’s a whole other story.) And there on the front page was a photo of Sal and his house.  He wasn’t standing proudly in front of it, despite the fact that it is a very lovely house.  No, he was wedged in the tiles that had given way as he lurched to retrieve a ladder that had slipped while he was putting up his Christmas lights.  You couldn’t see him terribly well, partly because of the impressionistic nature of newspaper photos then, but also because only his top half was visible.  How kind of someone to take a photo  before rescuing him....
In the same vein but a long, long way from my little village, someone in the US had to take down their Christmas decoration that was designed to look like someone clinging to the guttering while a ladder lay at a haphazard angle beneath them.  Too many people had phoned the fire department.   He may have complained at having to remove his decoration, but how much worse it would have been if no-one had phoned to rescue his synthetic struggler.  But just taken a picture for the local paper.

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