WHISPERING SMITH: A great day in the morning...

Ellie Boiling with the Temporary Measured Clog Dancers
Ellie Boiling with the Temporary Measured Clog Dancers

Rather than Sussex Day, last Saturday would have been better named as Dolphin Day. Certainly, without the input of landlady Ellie Boiling and a handful of volunteers it would not have been much of a Sussex Day.

On the face of it, it all seemed a bit chaotic. A very close timetable of events with hardly a breather in between but, as with a lot of things, out of that chaos came a respectable order.

In spite of the gloomy weather predictions of some, the day turned out to be dry even if a little cloudy and draughty at times.

The choir choired, the jivers jived, the cloggers – quite a novelty for Littlehampton – clogged, the sailors shantied, the reader read, the folk singer folked, the banjos did whatever it is banjo players do when en masse and all participants deserve a huge bravo.

To pick out any one group by name would be a disservice to all and they know where they were on the day.

The pub was draped in Sussex flags and the bar strewn with local sausages, cheese biscuits and pickle.

The pumps pumped fine Sussex ales, our cheerful mayor Billy Blanchard-Cooper sampled the fare and, as far as I could tell, a very good time was had by all.

But I say again, it was pretty much a solo Dolphin event. This was not really a council, either town or district, event and my hope is that next year both outfits get fully behind the day and take some of the weight.

Recently, in a local supermarket, an elderly foreign gentleman was having trouble over a purchase. He had not a single word of English so I guessed he was a visitor and not a local resident.

The line got fidgety and he left. One customer said, quite crossly and loudly, that the man ‘should learn to speak English’.

This brought to mind a similar experience I had in Greece some years back. I went into a pharmacy to buy some balm for a groin heat rash and found it impossible to vocalise my needs and, because of the location of the heat rash, found sign language a bit of an embarrassment.

I was about to leave when a large Grecian with a fab moustache stepped forward and translated my needs to the pharmacist.

Whatever he said amused the good-natured queue and got me my balm. Point of this story is that nary a one of the other customers suggested that I ‘should learn to speak Greek!’

Sometimes I do despair at people’s intolerance.

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