The Welly problem
Mon, 10 Jul 2017
I was woken at 4.30 one morning by a hammering on my back door.
‘I wonder who it could be at this hour?’ I thought, as I dressed and rushed downstairs.
It was Alun.
“It’s the world record for hurling rubber wellies Jed,” he said, “It’s been broken.”
“You’ve woken me at 4.30 a.m. to tell me that. Who are you, Norris McWhirter’s evil twin?”
“You don’t understand, Jed, the record-breaking welly’s landed here, on our little island.”
“Are you sure?” I said, it seemed unlikely.
“It’s true Jed, it’s all happening on East Bay, come and see.”
It all seemed highly unlikely, nothing’s ‘happened’ on East Bay since the sand got blown slightly to the left 37 years ago. Because the island never gets any vistitors nothing of note ever happens here.
However, I donned my coat and followed Alun to East Bay. To my great surprise the bay was full of over a hundred people, all of them flinging wellies here, there and thither.
“It’s madness Jed, a bay full of people flinging wellies, it’s like a scene from a movie.”
“Which movie’s that?” I said, I don’t get to watch many movies.
“I don’t know Jed, I don’t get to watch many movies. Let’s go down and find out what’s going on.”
“What’s going on?” I asked the first welly-thrower I came across.
“It’s Tosser Thompson,” he said, “He’s broken the world-record for welly-throwing, a welly’s landed here, all the way from Welly Mound on the mainland.”
“Welly Mound, but that’s over five miles.” I said. “That’s impressive tossing.”
“Nonsense,” interupted another man, “I can beat that.”
I recognised the man, of course, it was Hurler Harrison, the renowned welly hurler.
“Are you sure?” I said, “It seems an awfully long way.”
“I’ll beat that no problem. I’m the best there is, better than Lobber Lamont, superior to Bunger Bristow and a different class to Chucker Khan.”
I didn’t want to get into an argument, besides which the entire bay was hazardous, with wellies flying all over the place, so Alun and I made our excuses and left the crowd there, hurling and tossing wellies to their hearts content.
“That was all very silly,” I said, “But at least we’ve seen the last of them.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was woken at 4.30 the next morning by a welling flying through the window and landing in the bed next to me.
I quickly dressed, jumping over a welly that had landed on the stairs on my way down. I skipped breakfast, as there was a welly in the porridge, and hurried down to East Bay to see what was going on.
The bay was full, once again, with people throwing wellies.
Amongst the crowd, I saw Alun taling to Hurler Harrison, I couldn’t make out what he was saying but he was demonstrating hurling wellies and pointing.
When I finally caught up with him, Alun was beaming with pleasure.
“I don’t know why you’re in such a good mood,” I said. “I thought we’d seen the last of them, but Happy Island seems to have become a welly-throwers mecca. Why were you talking to that tosser?”
“He’s not a tosser Jed, he’s a hurler. There’s a major technical difference. A hurl is basically a ballectic chuck, whereas a toss is essentially an extended lob.”
“Well I’m glad you’re an expert now. It looks like we’ll need to be with that mob here every morning, how do they even get here, the morning boat doesn’t arrive for another two hours.”
“They charter their own boat Jed, the Welly Island ferry.”
“Welly Island,?” I said. “Where’s that?”
“Here, Jed. They’ve re-named our island after the record throw.”
“Good god, so what are you so happy about?”
“Just wait and see, Jed. All will become clear tomorrow.”
The next morning I was woken at 4.30 by a hammering on my back door. I quickly dressed and rushed downstairs where I found Alun waiting.
“This way,” he said, and I followed him to East Bay.
“There’s no-one there,” I said. “You’ve woken me at 4.30 in the morning to show me an empty beach. It’s like the time you became Happy Island postman and used to wake me at 5.00 a.m. every morning to tell me I hadn’t got mail.”
“Yes Jed, but aren’t you pleased, it means the welly-throwers have stopped coming.”
“How can you be so sure,” I said, “They might simply be running late.”
“Because they’re all over there,” Alun pointed to our neighbouring island, where sure enough, there were hundreds of people throwing wellies.
“What are they doing there?” I said.
“Simple, I suggested that in order to break the record, Hurler Harrison should throw his welly to Slightly Further Away Island, to avoid any possible dispute.”
“So this is no longer Welly Island.”
“No Jed, and whatever happens to the world record, it’s going to get further and further away. We’re back to being our quiet, peaceful little island again.”
Unfortunately, fate was to prove Alun wrong. But that, dear reader, is another story.