CRINGLE: Spring signals

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Yes, it has been a wretched winter so far . . .

First of all the weather. Gale force winds, with an icily cold steel edge to them thrusting you through the body.

Rain persisting down in record-breaking style. Not to mention snow, zero temperatures and flooding.

We have also had the Department of Infrastructure on the rampage with their digger-pokery all over the place.

If they’re not digging up the roads they’re digging up the pavements. There’s been no hiding place.

And if this lot isn’t bad enough, the members of the Council of Ministers are back stalking the land by night again, with baleful public promises of savage repression of the citizenry in order to stave off economic disaster.

But, for me at least, the dawn of February last week brought blessed relief.

I woke up to find a mysterious radiance in the morning sky. I switched Manx Radio on to find out what this threatening presence was.

There was a man from the Met Office on to calm our fears.

It was, he said, the sun.

We asked him how to spell that.

But this wasn’t all. Also that very morning, I am delighted to say, Phil came back to me, back to the bijou residence.

Now I don’t want any misunderstandings here. Phil is a handsome cock pheasant which throughout last summer made his home in the semi-rural environs of my residence at Blackberry Lane. But, when winter came, he disappeared.

I was distraught. I was afraid he had been croaked.

But it seems he himself was fearful that I would make a joke like that at his expense and decided last week to announce his return to the fold.

I heard him first. Then I looked through the bedroom window and there he was, standing to the rear of the house, near to where Douglas High School Old Boys has its playing field.

I had to assume he was wanting to make sure of his place on the touchline for the next home game.

Otherwise he was in fine voice; oh very well . . . he was in fine croak. Certainly he was enjoying the what-do-you-call-it, the sun.

In case anybody is wondering about my calling him Phil, it is nothing to do with anthropomorphism.

I am not endowing him with human qualities. He’s a bird for God’s sake.

But last summer I noticed he was alone. No lady friend, a co-habitee to enliven the nest in the dark of night.

I was wondering if he was having some kind of gender crisis and he was not sure which way to stick the wallpaper up.

I thought he should be able to abandon Phil and go for Philomena if necessary.

All birds should be allowed to wing both ways if they want to.

• KEN Johnson, of Grosvenor Road, Douglas, says when Martin Brunnschweiler was being interviewed on Manx Radio about winning back the Douglas Corporation contract to run the TT tent on the seafront, he remarked that there had been all sorts of occasions there like weddings, engagements – and ‘the scattering of ashes’.

That sounds like a grave offence under the Corporation bye-laws Martin.

• JEFF Kirby tells me that a story in the Examiner about Phil Crellin, vice-chairman of Port Erin village commissioners, had him saying: ‘If it is a vote of no confidence in me for not towing the party line . . .’

As Jeff says: ‘He’s not in it for the long haul then.’

• KARL Campbell is back with more Manx crossword clues. First: Disparage stunner securing current Tourist trophy (8). BELITTLE (Times Jumbo Cryptic).

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