Zak Spade's

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Published under my View from the Stairs column in a magazine covering north Buckinghamshire, August 2011, as:
Mad Dogs and Englishmen
by Phil J O'Hara

o - O - o

Remember that summer? It was the season without snow or ice. There were even some nice warm sunny days towards the end. Recall it now?

I took advantage of working from home to sit in the garden and write on my laptop. At least until I was unable to find shade.

When the sun fell upon me it would shine on the laptop lid and heat it up alarmingly; and so I would retreat indoors.

Something I don’t partake in is sun worshipping. On those occasions when I venture out on a task without any writing intention or implements, I seek to avoid the midday sun. If timing decrees that I have no choice, then I cover my arms and wear something with sleeves.

Nowadays it is obvious, even to me, that times have changed. Walking through Campbell Park towards thecentre:mk I see people of both sexes, exposing great swathes of skin to the rays of the sun. At no time do I see dogs - mad or otherwise - doing anything remotely similar.

Knowing the effect of the sun on my laptop I just shake my head and plough on looking for shadows to walk in on the way to my destination.

Given that I am presently writing this in a well heated room, looking out on the garden being drenched by a seemingly unstoppable rain storm, I am wondering whether I should have appreciated those periods of sunshine when they made their appearance.

If I were to be sat outside at this moment then you would not be reading this. No, I would be a news item about a fool who drowned in his own garden after being electrocuted by the charger attached to his laptop.

Noel Coward was probably being somewhat irreverent when he penned Mad Dogs and Englishmen, but did rather have a point that should be taken note of.

The cotton wool brigade is likely to be making a play for your money. I can see a proposal looming to build covered walkways between housing estates and thecentre:mk.

Milton Keynes could be at the beginning of a movement to protect those who live within its boundaries from the rays of that midday sun. It would be an even safer place to live than it is already.

Of course there will be some who will point at our local leaders and will claim it to be a shocking waste of money that would better be spend on something like a proper refuse collection service, or suchlike. But one must look to the future. We could be citizens at the start of a truly forward looking society. Knowing that we are protected from our own folly would make us all glow inside, along with the knowledge that our children and grandchildren would have no need for sun block cream.

A lot has changed since Noel Coward wrote Mad Dogs and Englishmen in 1932. Look at how our current midday sun cooks laptops and skin...

© 2011

31 August 2021