Beware of carbons making tracks

The scientific consensus was disturbed last night by the announcement of a ground-breaking discovery near East Rudham in north-west Norfolk.

The scientific consensus was disturbed last night by the announcement of a ground-breaking discovery near East Rudham in north-west Norfolk.

The University of East Anglia's prestigious School of Penguins, Chess and Road Surfacing has carried out extensive tests on indentations found in a field on the way to Bagthorpe and has confirmed that they are carbon footprints.

“Big ones, too,” said Prof Ian (Sam) Aufmerksam, who headed the team out in the field. “We were amazed, especially as it was quite cold and getting colder.”

The initial discovery was made by whole-food chef Len “Kissme” Hardy, of Hindolveston, who is not married.

He told our reporter that the area was relatively unexplored. While not as remote as Norfolk's famous

black hole - which is normally situated somewhere near Reepham - it is commonly known as the Grey Area.

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“I'm not sure when any human being would have been in that field before me,” said Mr Hardy. “Probably not for thousands of years. Except to plant the hedge, of course.”

Asked where he thought the footprints came from, he said there was every likelihood of at least one large carbon roaming the area. Probably two.

“I haven't actually seen one,” he said, “but I suspect it would look like a big black cat - maybe a puma. If there's two of them, and they mate, we could be in real trouble. I wouldn't be surprised if the earth moved, or the sea level rose.

“It's happened before.”

Prof Aufmerksam said many people knew that medium-sized carbons did stalk parts of Norfolk in Roman times, when Great Yarmouth was still under water and had never hosted any kind of chess tournament.

“This could be worse,” he said. “I would advise people not to have too many lights on in their houses. It attracts these things. I'm not sure how.”

The government is considering taxing fields where such footprints are found, and the people who found them, but Mr Hardy was sceptical.

“That'll never work,” he said. “Norfolk people aren't stupid. The farmers will just plough them up and deny all knowledge of them. I can't remember where I saw them now.

“I hope someone made copies.”

WE'RE ALL AT RISK IN SO MANY WAYS

The shock cancellation of an ice spectacular that had been scheduled for the Norfolk Showground in February has had unexpected repercussions.

The ice show was deleted because of fears that unpredictable weather might lead to disappointment if

shows had to be called off nearer the event.

Norwich City are now considering calling off all home matches in case it rains hard or someone gets injured, and a sun-and-sea party planned by Houseago Inc of Erpingham for Bacton beach in January has also been struck off.

“We felt there was a risk that it might be a bit chilly,” said chief executive and Norfolk legend Henry (Fred) “Shrimp” Houseago.

The Rev Nick Repps-cum-Bastwick, a spokesman for Weather or Not, a meteorological betting conglomerate, said that calling off outdoor events could be disastrous. Concerts in Blickling Park and Thetford Forest could be affected because of the risk of rain or, in some cases, trees. Thousands would be disappointed.

He suggested rescheduling the ice spectacular for July, when it was a “fair bet” the weather would be much nicer.

Meanwhile there have been calls for the Ashes series in Australia to be abandoned because of a serious risk of weather of one kind or another, especially in Perth.

SIGNS OF NOTHING ARE NOWHERE

A fairly respected correspondent tells me of a plaque he came across in a border town - possibly Beccles or Bungay.

He can't remember which.

It was in an alleyway, maybe near a church, and commemorates the fact that “nothing happened here”.

I made almost every effort to check the splendid plaque down, and even considered going to either Beccles or Bungay at one point, before abandoning hope on the A146 as usual.

Nevertheless I did engage in much more arduous international research and discovered that such plaques are not unique to the Norfolk-Suffolk border. In fact there was a rash of them in Paris at one point. The similarities between Paris, Beccles and Bungay will be obvious to most readers.

The plaques, I discovered, are offered for sale on the internet by an enterprising American company called Siegler. I am not saying this is the source of the East Anglian plaque, or the French ones, but nothing can be ruled out.

The “Nothing happened here” Siegler wall plaques were priced originally at a generous $19.95, but they have since been reduced to $5.

Which I suppose goes to show that the price of nothing is going down.

IS IN-LINE SHOPPING REALLY SUCH A GREAT IDEA?

While many companies are announcing an increase in online shopping in the crawl-up to Christmas, a backlash is waiting in the wings.

Professor V A R Scheinlich, who declined to give his age or name, said yesterday from his holiday home in Thorpe Hamlet that he would not be shopping online any more, as he had had to wait in a long, cold and wet queue outside Norwich sorting office for the 14th time to collect his parcel.

“I suspect newts have infiltrated the postal service,” he alleged. “They wait till you go out, then try to deliver your parcel but can't get it through the letterbox, so they take it away again. I've heard them laughing.”

Prof Scheinlich, an expert on space-time distortion, said he called it in-line shopping, not online shopping, and he proposed to go back to sitting in his car in the road outside the Riverside shopping complex every Sunday morning. “At least you don't get wet that way,” he said. “Of course, you can't buy anything either.”

He claimed Royal Mail could sort out the problem by making the collection room bigger, the counter longer and the staff more numerous. Or by making more than one attempt to deliver parcels.

“Instead they let strange people clog the place up by posting armfuls of parcels there as well,” he said. “They could do that anywhere. I think they're taking the mickey.”