I was recently marooned in the city of Hull when I took my truck in for a cover to be fitted.
The hour-and-a-half fitting time turned out to be a little on the conservative side when I turned up at 8am – to be told that I could return for the vehicle at four that afternoon.
To say I was a little put out would be an understatement of epic proportions, but let’s just say that the receptionist extended her vocabulary somewhat during a crash course on customer relations given by yours truly.
However, rant done and spleen vented, 4pm it was still to be. Therefore I indignantly headed out on Shanks’s pony to explore the metropolis of Kingston-upon-Hull.
Had I understood the geography of my location, I might not have been so keen to go it alone on foot.
I found myself on the west end of Hessle Road in Gypsyville. It was voted the worst place to live in England, and I soon found out why.
There was more dog dirt on the footpath than in a hunt kennel, while most of the male populace flaunted the neo-Nazi look of shaven heads with tattooed necks circled in gold, and sporting an illegal pit bull straining at the leash.
Even the billboards were in character, reporting a local father had just received life at Her Majesty’s pleasure for beating his only son to death.
I kid you not – I have been in some of the world’s crapholes but even Kate Adie would have thought twice about venturing into this slum without a full complement of bodyguards and air support back-up.
I pulled my shirt cuff over my watch with one hand, then quickly placed it back in my pocket to cover my wallet, all the while trying to look as mean, or at least as little of a victim as one can when wearing a tweed jacket and chinos in this urban jungle.
Thankfully, after turning about I walked the full length of Hessle Road and on into the town centre to find some semblance of civilisation without mishap.
That was until a transit van cut the corner over the low kerb, much to the detriment of my toes as it sped over my left foot and carried on towards its destination, the driver completely oblivious to my injury.
The Thursday from hell eventually ended at 7.30pm when I finally returned to the outskirts of the sleepy East Coast seaside resort where I live.
The experience was a sobering one to say the least. It angered me to think of the time and money spent by successive governments trying to curtail our sport or legitimate firearms ownership, when that effort and currency would have been better spent cleaning the slums of our once great nation.
I imagine most of those Gypsyville chavs I passed that day were, if not on their way to commit a crime, then probably just returning from having committed one.
And these misfits’ votes count just as much as ours – they may not be able to write, but they can still just about manage to put an x in a box.
A big part of England is certainly a green and pleasant land, but much of it is also a grey and distinctly unpleasant one.
Let’s hope the latter never actually rules over the former.
Peter Carr, editor-in-chief