Bill Lawless column

Bill Lawless
Bill Lawless

I don’t laugh at other peoples’ misfortunes, but possibly you will agree with me that the millionaire belt in the upper reaches of the Thames has had it coming.

Salmon and cucumber sandwiches in summer on the lawns sweeping down to the river sound great, but sometimes the river bites back.

Now the designer kitchens and the luxury lounges have a plimsol line up the the faux William Morris wallpaper, you can bet the Tories will pay more attention to their voters there than they have to the yokels in and around the Somerset levels. When the Aga gets wet the natives are knackered.

I lived and worked in London and the south-east for many years before returning gladly to my north-western homeland. I was sick and tired of defending climatic conditions here against the smug southerners.

Sure, we get a bit less sun than Eastbourne, a drop more rain than Brighton. But come the winter while the south-east skidded and shivered, Morecambe Bay continued to enjoy its micro-climate.

We didn’t have any snow, while ancients down south were being dug out of their granny flats and dragged by sled to hospitals.

It was much the same in summer. A couple of years ago we were coping comfortably with high temperatures while the southerners were sweltering in their thongs.

Aged auntie Alice got frost bite when she fell asleep by the open door of her fridge.

With the temperature in the early 90s it was the first case of summer frostbite in Tunbridge Wells on record.

Anyway, thus far I haven’t worn my wellies this winter, let alone gone shopping by canoe in a wet suit. In fact you can stick London and the south-east. It’s too hot, too cold, too wet and too windy. And those house prices...


My salutations to the Rev David L Heap for his letter last week. For the 19 years I have been writing this column in the Visitor, the Guardian or both, my relationships with the local clergy have been strained, to say the least.

I think his was the first that showed a sense of humour and a sense of fun. He sounds like a rugby man, too. I might even break the habit of a lifetime and pop along one Sunday to listen to his sermon.

But betcha he doesn’t mention Dead Eye Dick, Mexican Pete and a lady called Eskimo Nell.