Thursday, 5 March 2009

The Irresistible Glamour of the Average Town Planner

While his mother was away the neighbour's boy had a little problem with the wood-burning stove.

He was just leaving the house to drive his girlfriend - who is delightful - to the station, when he heard a noise like a Eurofighter cranking up for take-off at Saba. Looking up, he noticed that a turbojet on full afterburner appeared to have become embedded in the top of the chimney, casting an eerie glow into the night sky. Unlocking the house he entered the kitchen. Unopened mail, snackpots, decorative garlic plaits and smaller items of furniture were being sucked across the room into the stove door, which now resembled the mouth of a volcano on curry night. The cat had its front legs wrapped round the marble sculpture of two penguins that his mum did on a residential week in Tuscany. He quickly phoned the Fire Brigade, while his delightful girlfriend sat down with her laptop and began some coursework.

The Social Secretary and K happened to be driving nearby when they caught a glimpse of flashing blue lights, and stopped off to see the fun...the fun being firemen in rubber boots. (What is it with women and firemen? Why not women and town planners? What have firemen got that town planners haven't? Do firemen use Article 4 Directions and Section 106 Agreements? Do they have Rotring Rapidographs in all sizes from 0.1 to 0.8 and several seductive shades of black and burgundy? Can they quote the Use Classes Order or operate a Planimeter? Have they got felt tips? I don't think so).

When they arrived the neighbour's son was in the yard, adjusting his story. His girlfriend (who is delightful) was sitting in the car doing some course work on her laptop. Several of the firemen were 'well fit'. And they won't need to get their chimney swept this year, so there's always a silver lining (assuming it hasn't burned through).

(Incidentally the neighbour's boy's mum now knows about the cat poo on carpet tile frisbee incident, which someone accidentally let slip the other day. The passage of time and a bottle of South African shiraz softened the blow, and she forgave him).


  1. I have to say, my jaw was clenched in anticipation whilst watching and waiting for her reaction to the poo incident the other day.

    Poor neighbour, he is rather unfortunate sometimes.

    On another note, I was going to e-mail you but I've forgotten your e-mail address so listen to these,

    I remember I told you about them a few weeks back but I doubt you would have remembered their name (I certainly wouldn't have).


  2. Ah, but I did - in fact K added them on her MySpace. Good band. I see they played a gig at Edinbane (a slightly Bohemian corner of north Skye)with our old friends Trudge Euphoria not long since.

  3. Firemen have hoses. And uniforms. And a rugged death-defying glamour. Town planners have... well... clip boards. And tie pins. And sock suspenders. There really is no competition. Even I fancy firemen.

  4. Shit. You're not a town planner, are you?

  5. Nah, Fireman mate. Town Planner was just my cover. Keep the girls off, like.

  6. damn, sugar, i thought i'd just met the man of mah dreams! town planner who's a volunteer fireman! sigh (tell me do ya'll, i mean does he keep his rotrings in a clear box all nice and neat...sigh)

  7. Brother Tobias, I don't know what a rotring is but I've a burning desire for one, now.
    Weird, that.

  8. Wow, you live next door to pure blog-fodder you lucky fire-planner you! We just live next to a young couple expecting their first baby and on the other side a young guy in his first house with a dog that won't shut up.
    I've always rather hankered after coppers actually...

  9. I think that town planners are a fine sub-species, but you can't quite imagine the wall-calendar with them on, in the way you can with firemen. Rotrings (and I admit to knowing what they are, having a thing about fountain pens) are fine, but hoses are rather more evocative.

  10. Hmmmm....your next door neighbour's son seems a little accident prone. Be thankful you are not semi detached!!
    As to firemen........mmmmm....maybe I should get my smoke alarms checked??

  11. Firemen, yes, they are kind of appealing. Even the name does it: "fire" kind of gets you in the right mood whereas hearing the word "planner" is a bit of a turn-off to passion don't you think.

  12. I once went out with a town planner and he was gorgous - much better than a fireman (I went out with one of those as well though). The town planner was more articute, handsome and funny. The fireman was stronger in a conventionally masculine way. So 1-0 to TP versus F

  13. he might have been *articute* but he was also a r t i c u l a t e

  14. I had been wondering about the frisbee, thanks for the update.

    The Weavers in T Wells had a chimney fire a couple of months ago - it made the drive home more interesting.

    A former colleague who drools over firemen (OK, all women do, but she is particularly prone to it) went out one lunchtime and found that the FBU were having their annual conference at the Central Hall in Westminster (sorry - this was when I worked in Victoria Street). She needed oxygen by the time she managed to drag herself away and get back to the office.

  15. Savvy, if there's one thing they're taught, it's to keep their rotrings nice and tidy in their drawers.

    Pearl, I can't think how you've got by without.

    Amanda, with a baby on one side and a dog on the other, it may soon be you that's barking.

    Madame DeFarge, I concede the calendar point, but in the long run I reckon the pen is mightier than the hose. I know Homer wrote, 'the Sirens...enchanters of all mankind', but I don't think he meant the ones on fire appliances..

    Justme, I thank my stars every day! No harm in having a fireman check you out.

    RB, it does smack of cool foresightedness, I suppose. But at least you can be sure he'll have booked the table...

    Fancy - I think we may well have been out at some time after all. Go articute planners!

    Completely, this really isn't fair. There ought to be more lady firemen...firewomen. Now I think about it, I can see the appeal; thigh-length rubber boots, wet tops, a smudge of soot on their little, upturned noses. Yes, you may have a point.

  16. Town planners.. I think I ate one once, battered and then deep deep deeeep fried.

  17. "being sucked across the room into the stove door, which now resembled the mouth of a volcano on curry night. The cat had its front legs wrapped round the marble sculpture "
    Yes, you've landed in a pot of blog-worthy jam - lucky fellow!
    Town plannners? Robert Moses, a powerful bastard comes to mind. Id much rather hoist a pint with you and your tribe while your daughter sings. Much fun! Your mind is one of my favourite pleasure grounds lately. Your comments at my blog are like mornings treasures discovered. Dewy jewels with a cruncy, tart after-taste. Addictive snacks! Aloha from Waikiki

  18. I thought it was firemen and gay men? Still at least they have kept their poles. That wasn't town planners was it? Sorry the tablets are wearing off but I can hear nurse coming up the stairs with my nex dose.

  19. The thing about town planners is that planned towns are always so dull, so one expects the people who plan them must be dull also. Not so, I've discovered, they can be thwarted artistic geniuses with multi-coloured Rotrings in leather sheaths. Firemen lose their appeal as soon as they open their mouths, sometimes even before.

  20. I was going to say that firemen have poles but The Birdwatcher beat me to it. I had quite a dull conversation at work the other day about firemen and their poles and how the stairs at speed are far more dangerous. Being a worrier, firemen are the last people I would consider. Give me a man with a nice safe job like a solicitor or town planner. Wield rotrings not hoses.

  21. Mmmmmmmm Firemen....raaaaaaaarr....Just joking. I used to feel like that about firemen till I dated one for a while and found out he was only human after all and, sadly, not the nicest one I had ever met.

  22. Isn't town planning just cramming in buildings wherever there's space, and taking adavantage of gaps left where the fire sercice didn't manage to put out a blaze?

    Like when a tree falls in the forest, leaving an opening for new builds.

  23. A nice fireman lived down our street and gave me a lift up the hill in his big red sports car one hot day when I was standing at the bottom of the hill with two huge heavy bags of shopping, looking up the hill in despair. 100 yards in a roaring beast!
    Unfortunately, the fireman was not remotely attractive, but it gave the neighbours something to gossip about for hundreds of years afterwards.

  24. :-) do you have the hots for my Lady dear Neighbor up the road? LOL How come she gets "delightful" after every comment.. I want that after "Neighbors son..;-)

  25. You do lead such an exciting life! Though I'd have expected you straight in there with your trusty fire extinguisher. Who knows what might have happened if you'd played fireman yourself?

    PS Is the neighbour's son's girlfriend delightful by any chance?

  26. Jimmy - I believe they're an endangered species now.

    Cloudia - Ah yes, Moses; "cities are for traffic". Hmm. Thank you for your kind words (tart is the only one I've been called before). The enjoyment is mutual, Pacific Lady.

    BW - Could have done with poles latterly - it all seemed to be fire-fighting.

    Eryl - You're right, planned towns are dull. But thwarted artistic genius will do nicely - thanks!

    Sarah - Perhaps fire stations should be housed in bungalows?

    DJ - There's the nub; it's not the hat but the man within that counts.

    Jules - Well yes, it's getting a bit like that. Brownfield attractive sounding. I've just been enjoying myself at yours, and will be back.

    Helen - That's why he needed the big red sports car. A man's attraction quotient is in inverse proportion to the pulling power of his motor. You may recall my Reliant Regal...

    Luke - It would be discourteous not to, wouldn't it? I will work on your adjective; it would be a shame to sell you short!

    Barbara - Welcome. I have been enjoying the breath-taking photography and informed commentary of your blog, and deeply envy the uncrowded wilderness you have at hand.

  27. Rol - Sorry, our comments crossed. My excitement seems to be mostly vicarious - I am a watcher in the wings. And yes, she is delightful - I should have said.

  28. Aren't they called 'Firefighters' nowadays?

    Anway, it's Incendia Proeliator descriptions gone mad, that's what it is...

  29. You're a Latin scholar, Chimesey ? I'm impressed - I had to look that up, and me with the O Level and all.

  30. What would we need a table for?