Back in the good old days when men wore cloth caps, drank real ale by the cartload and went to bed in hobnailed slippers icy roads and footpaths were rarely the source of major moral dilemmas. They were certainly not problematic enough to put you off your woodbines.
I mean the solution is simple, in’t it? Yer just sling a bit o’grit or salt down and tell people to walk proper careful like... It’s bloody winter what do you expect?
And should passersby still go arse over tit in the slippy conditions well... it’s only a laugh in’t it? That’s just the way life is. And if you end up in th’ospital wi’ a broken ankle or two we’ll drink ter yer good ‘ealth in pub later... no ‘arm done, like.
All sounds very sensible and civilized to me.
But alas, the good old days are no more and instead we find ourselves mired neck-deep in the modern age of political correctness and litigious opportunism.
You see gritting the pathways these days is a can of worms or a hot potato that few are brave enough to handle and in dear old Leam (from which I hail) such moral dilemmas cause many a frilly knicker to be entwisted.
In the modern age it seems one (and by one I mean an individual or a corporation) can be successfully sued if one decides to grit an icy pavement but a passer-by still falls over upon it and splinters a rib or three on a frozen dog poo... whereas if you do nothing at all and they fall headlong into a storm drain and break their neck they can’t touch you for a single penny. You are not responsible.
Crazy but true.
And I have it on good authority that this bizarre state of affairs is just as applicable to home gritting / salting. If you grit your pathway and your friendly neighbourhood postman cracks open his knackers in a spectacular pratfall that sees a recorded delivery parcel inserted somewhere tight and moist he can sue your ass to kingdom come. But if you leave the pathway as nature intended and he still anally ingests your brown paper wrapped package from Holland well it’s just tough titty cos he can’t touch you for a rusty farthing.
As true as I’m sitting here at the foot of our stairs.
Now, am I the only person in this country to think that such a selfish, mealy mouthed, spiritually impoverished outlook is a national disgrace? Indeed, is it a national disgrace or is such jobsworthy (mis)conduct just a local (in)delicacy confined to the ice-covered streets of Leamington Spa?
Surely as a nation we are better than this? Surely to do something is always better than doing nothing? Don’t we have a responsibility to each other as well as to ourselves? Isn’t there such a thing as a communal duty of care?
Do we really want to see Mrs Scoggins from number 73 cracking her spine in half performing an ice skating move worthy of Torvill and Dean in their heyday as she takes a walk to the local post office to buy a second class stamp?
Ladies and gentlemen, your thoughts please.