As the summer drizzles to a close and we all look forward to getting our teeth into the new term (or at least limping through until Christmas), I am drawn to speculate on the impact of our Spine redevelopment. The last vestiges of the 60’s dream are to be found standing forlornly in dripping peninsulas of wood and tar around Alexandra square. Being able to walk the length of the campus without the elements taking their toll on clothing and spirits is no more.
So, what replaces it? The new spine covering is more modern. It lets in more light (because there is less of it), and it is certainly airier. The brutal winter winds of Lancaster will have no problems reaching places that previously they were unable to penetrate. As the campus fills up, with the new term getting into full swing, it is the author’s belief that an amusing new spectacle will be enjoyed by all who are safely observing from inside a building. We might even write papers on it – ‘Darwinian theory in practice: survival of the fittest at Lancaster University’.
I could be wrong, but I suspect that there is a nice equation that could be written which describes the relationship between the reduced surface area of the new covering on the Spine, the increase in height and the reduced area of dry ground to be found beneath. It could be further developed to introduce wind-speed and direction in combination with precipitation so that we can be better informed on how far up an individual’s legs the rain will reach on windy days compared to calm ones. The distance that the individual is forced to walk from the wall will certainly correlate with the relative dampness experienced. I am not qualified to write such an equation, but even to my layman’s brain it is clear that on a blustery, wet day in Lancaster most people are going to get wet legs.
At this point my whimsical mind wanders off into imagining the scene; older staff being pushed out into the rain by younger, fitter campus residents intent on protecting their £50 hair-dos and expensive footwear, the oldsters’ pitiful cries of ‘Don’t you know who I am’ quickly lost in the swirling vortex of a November day. University executives will quickly learn that meetings must be arranged close to home so that they can prevent the crease dropping out of their trousers below the knee. Alternatively, a rash of new posts as ‘Red Flag Assistant’ might be seen – staff employed to walk ahead of said executives, clearing the path closest to the wall and preserving their sartorial elegance. In short, survival of the fittest. Things do not look well for yours truly.
So, having accepted that I am not particularly fit, or having sufficient standing to merit my own Red Flag Assistant, I am driven to rely on my cunning and guile. In considering the problem I have had to determine my own position in the Darwinian pecking order. Whilst not fit, I am capable of brutality in the face of wet clothing. Though not important, I can shout in a manner that might confuse more easily cowed individuals into assuming that I am important and that it is my RFA’s day off. On that basis I think my position under the covering is probably mid-stream. Probably dry above the waist, but squarely in wet-leg territory.
With that in mind, prototype designs for half-length waterproof over-trousers are already completed. These may be slipped on over the footwear and are held in place above the knee by strap or elastic, depending upon the wearer’s preference. Donned before a walk down the campus, these will protect the mid-stream wearer from the crease disaster, and can be easily and discreetly removed upon reaching your destination. Sales will be limited and availability will be restricted to those neither fit nor important. It’s only fair.