Anyway, so. Gentlemen, look away now: (unless, of course, you are a Tory councillor with a particular interest in women's tights, and yes - I know who you are.) Dave Hill might enjoy this too, over at t' Grauniad.
Ladies: let us visit the Broken Barnet lingerie department for a moment.
Mrs Angry has purchased a pair of John Lewis tights, and hello: as she opened it, a piece of card falls out of the packet. It is a set of instructions, with no less than three helpful illustrations, explaining to we fluffy headed girls, how to put on a pair of tights.
In fact, it warns us sternly, that, in order to obtain the maximum benefit from our John Lewis tights, we must always ensure that they are put on correctly. Oh ... now you mention it ... And: Dr H, please remove those tights from your head, you foolish woman, unless you are intending to nip to the local post office and frighten the staff. Listen and learn.
Step 1: Gather the tights with your thumbs in the toes (no fingers,) and gently pull over each foot. See the saucy line drawing of a woman delicately placing the pointy toes of her left foot into the end of a pair of tights. Unfortunately, to Mrs Angry's expert eye, it looks like she has put the foot into the wrong side, but let's move on.
Step 2: With both feet comfortably fitted, stand with heels flat on the floor before starting to pull up. Of course according to the previous picture, you will now be standing with your tights, if not your knickers, in a twist, but move on. Ok, feet flat on floor, not as usual, one foot in, standing on one leg, hopping about bedroom swearing. And look, another teasy picture of someone reaching knee level with what actually looks more like a stocking. Next: firmly draw each leg up to the knee, repeatedly sliding the thumbs from front to back around the leg and (you may wish to take a break at this point, if you are feeling over excited, or from the Barnet Bugle) and ... ensure that tights are evenly stretched. Mmm. Lovely. Look: evenly stretched - always a bonus.
Step 3: Using the same movement, pull over thighs. When both legs of the tights are stretched to their full length, pull on the panty part. (I should point out that the accompanying picture to this stage clearly shows a woman lewdly sliding her tights up, but not wearing any undergarments, which seems a bit slutty for a John Lewis woman). Hold on, though, we're not finished. Here is a warning. If the tights are not snug and secure, do not try to straighten them. Roll them down to the ankle, you minx, and begin again - do not be afraid to pull firmly, it says, ladies. And then, health and safety: pull out the toes of the tights to make sure your toes are not cramped. Phew. Got that? Legs in tights safely? Now relax. Remember to put some other clothes on, before leaving the house, or opening the door to the postman. Yes, we've all done it, haven't we?
I wonder how long it took to produce such a thorough guide? Frankly, there are shorter and less explicit instructions in the Kama Sutra, and most of them far less exciting.
But isn't it interesting (and this is where I will try and make out there is a serious reason to this post, so pay attention) that we live in a world where so much regulation now exists, so much that upsets the right wing PC haters, the old farts who so detest the nanny state, and 'elfnsafety', and now look, even John Lewis has succumbed: this is a significant loss, you know.
In the heady debate that takes place in corporate circles about yawn, models for local government and all that crap, when people stop sniggering about Barnet's easycouncil nonsense, they like to bring up the John Lewis concept, compare and contrast. Certain Barnet officers who take themselves far too seriously and, when not self promoting on twitter, are paid to promote the dafter outreaches of our borough's pretence at engagement with the community, have even been known to enter this debate.
I suppose John Lewis is seen as a benchmark for quality, and oh, standard of service. Quality and standards of service, a respect for the customer, a partnership with staff: in Broken Barnet? You having a laugh?
There is a clash of cultures in the different strands of administrative management in this borough, and a fatal gulf between the most senior officers, and the politicians, the elected members, and then again, a gulf between the senior officers and the rest of the staff. Somewhere in the gaps between these disparate strands, there is a failure to address the needs of the customers, ie you and me, the tax paying residents. Look at the confusion it creates.
I suspect the senior officers in this borough would prefer to follow the John Lewis model, whereas, of course, our Tory masters have sworn allegiance to the idiotic cause of easycouncil. Somehow or other, we have ended up with Poundland.
For example - and let's not waste an opportunity to mention them again: someone drew my attention today to Barnet's own online information about licensing matters in the borough. There is a long list of regulatory matters, including a section on door supervision. Guess what: this links to the SIA, the Home Office body which licences security companies, and which appears to have had only a passing knowledge of MetPro, Barnet's own private security company, used apparently without contract or tender since 2006. Rules and regulations, instructions, in our borough, are only to be applied to residents: the council is above the law, when it wishes to be. No need for nanny state supervision, diktats and bureaucracy here, we do things our own way and are accountable to no one. This is not a partnership, or a democracy: this is Broken Barnet, after all.
Wonder if Poundland does tights?
See, Mr Mustard: I rose to the challenge ...