Proof that as the Olympics grow ever closer the authorities are losing whatever grip on reality they may ever have had came yesterday with an electronic cigarette. The rabbit has a friend who has taken these up - they are another nicotine replacement therapy (in passing the rabbit is not a fan of the same - they just feed the addiction in a less harmful way missing the point that the answer is to overcome the addiction) in which a nicotine vapour is released. The end glows green when the user takes a draw - a nice touch. Now unlike cigarettes they are legal everywhere - including on coaches. We go to a coach travelling from Preston to London where someone saw what turned out to be a passenger 'smoking' an electronic cigarette, a 'genuinely concerned member of the public' concluded I am not quite sure what except that she thought he was behaving suspiciously and called the police.
The result: a major anti-terrorism operation was launched, the coach was stopped in Staffordshire and armed police officers with military back-up shut the motorway for seven hours having detained the coach for four. They escorted the 48 passengers off the bus, telling them to walk with arms stretched out whereupon they were further told to sit in silence in a makeshift pen on the road while being checked by sniffer dogs (see above). 'I thought I was going to be shot. Everyone was terrified. Some people thought it was a bomb or a suspected terrorist attack while others thought we might have an escaped prisoner on board' announced the splendidly named Vermilion von Kangur, a passenger on the coach who seems at least to have got her 15 minutes fame out of the episode.
The response, which could fairly be described as 'enormous' involved police, army bomb squad and fire service. The overkill seems demented. Is there no proportionate way of finding out if there is a problem?
And above all, the suspicion remains that the paranoia around the Olympics is now colouring officialdom's attitude to absolutely everything. In a completely unrelated story, a 71 year old with an airgun looking for rats was arrested by anti terrorism police - complete with attendant helicopter! 'Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both'. Benjamin Franklin.
On more serious matters, a comment by JopJo yesterday set the rabbit on an online search for the geoduck clam. And here it is and a fine looking fellow it is too I'm sure all will agree. Natural habitat: the coastal waters of Washington State, British Columbia and - erm - trousers.
And before it is too late, the rabbit would wish to blow his annual raspberry at Wimblebore. Tennis or watching paint dry? Pass the brushes.