ODW is seen (and heard) yet again

My article last time on the obnoxious dune walker of Horsey brought two contrasting responses.One was from a Sheringham woman who felt that we should give the seals space.

My article last time on the obnoxious dune walker of Horsey brought two contrasting responses.

One was from a Sheringham woman who felt that we should give the seals space. This is a view I have no problem with at all. Seals can have as much space as they like, and I am quite happy to keep well away from them, once I know they are there.

My objection was to the unpleasant behaviour of the ODW, which was clearly not a unique incident. Another woman rang to say she had a similar experience.

She said: "We walk along Horsey Beach all year round, but on one occasion recently, our party was confronted by a very rude man - I don't know if he was a warden or a volunteer - shouting at us from the dunes through a megaphone, telling us to get off the beach. It must have been very frightening for the seals.

“We couldn't get off the beach immediately, because there was no gap in the sea wall, but one of our party managed to climb up the sand dune, at which the man was very abusive to him, and threatened to call the police. When my friend offered him his mobile phone to make the call, he decided not to pursue it.”

Clearly one of the distinguishing characteristics of the ODW is the way it enjoys shouting at people and bullying them. This is precisely the kind of wildlife we do not want on our coastline, and I trust someone will find it a different habitat soon. Scroby Sands comes to mind.

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If it is necessary to keep people off the beach, there are perfectly civilised ways of doing it, as my second contact points out: “On another occasion, there were two lady wardens there who were politely marshalling people, with no trouble at all."

Secret plans to close down a fairly well known Suffolk seaside resort are revealed in a highly confidential document that has been leaked to this page.

The paper reveals that confusion over the allegiance of Lowestoft - which is often regarded as being in Norfolk although it is in fact well into Suffolk - has led to suspicion and recriminations. After exhaustive research and public consultation, mainly in Yarmouth, it was decided that the best solution would be to close down Lowestoft completely.

The first stages of the plan are already in operation. An initial disorientation programme was highly successful, with residents expecting a new improved road system but getting months of congestion instead.

Now plans to stop anyone entering or leaving the town by road are being put into effect, subtly codenamed “Three Months of Traffic Misery”. They include resurfacing, bridge refurbishment, converting streets from one-way to two-way, lane closures, road closures, diversions and traffic calming measures.

“All this is essential,” said consultant Len “Kissme” Hardy, of Hindolveston. “In fact all roadworks are. You may have noticed.

“Here we are aiming to transform a roads system from something that is merely amusing into one that is totally incomprehensible. And of course drive people mad in the process.

“It's all going very well.”

According to the leaked document, the ultimate aim is to close down all entry and exit points under the pretext of installing cycle lanes. In order to avoid charges of urbanicide, food parcels will be dropped by helicopter until the media lose interest or the sea level rises. New maps are already being drawn.

After years of guerrilla fighting amid the glades and coverts of eastern England, the Anti-Ivy League has agreed to lay down its arms and disband.

Scientists have demonstrated that ivy, though it has a bad reputation, does not kill trees. It is not parasitic and does not directly affect the health of the trees it climbs: it simply uses them for support.

The League has accepted this in principle, though it has declined to sign any documents.

Talks with the League have often been called off in the past amid recriminations and counter-accusations. Although it has on occasion agreed to stop its attacks on unsuspecting ivy, it has never given up its caches of saws, knives and cutters.

Isolated attacks have continued, and the innocent have suffered. But now peace hopes are high. All weapons will be handed over, and a local ombudsman, Henry (Fred) “Shrimp” Houseago, will oversee their destruction.

A spokesman said from Wicklewood last night: “It is time for the Anti-Ivy League to slink off into the mists of history.” But he sounded a warning note: “We must not forget that the Provisional Anti-Ivy League and the Real Anti-Ivy League are still out there. We have to remain alert.”


Meteorologists are baffled by an outburst of global cooling in south Norfolk.

Alert locals have noticed that a stretch of just over a mile of country road, roughly at the centre of a triangle whose points are in Alburgh, Topcroft Street and Hardwick, is regularly iced over when surrounding roads are clear.

Last Thursday, when most roads in the area had lost any trace of snow by 11am, the freak stretch, which includes two sharp bends, was still covered by packed, icy snow and lethal to the unwary.

The cause of the phenomenon is a mystery, but experts put it down to a current of cold air that “comes out of nowhere” and suggest installing sleeping snowmen to jolt drivers out of their normal inertia. Weather man Ralph (Sonny) Gewitter said a local tributary of the Waveney was to blame. He declined to name it.


I was in something of a dilemma last week, torn as I was between celebrating the feast day of Francis of Sales, the patron saint of journalists and authors, on Wednesday, or Burns Night on Thursday. To do both would clearly be excessive.

An esteemed former editor of mine, something of a Scotsman, impressed on me the importance of Burns Night, as well as the correct spelling of St Andrews (no apostrophe) and the fact that there is no such thing as Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

I can think of few facts more essential to civilisation as we know it. There was no contest, really.