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Black Gold–Sussex Tea

Would that be Earl Grey or Darjeeling?

A hitherto unremarked small British oil exploration company has just announced that they have found significant deposits of onshore oil in the Weald region, that is Sussex and Surrey, in the South of England. Apparently there might be one hundred billion barrels of the stuff, of which between five and twenty percent would be recoverable. In other words, about the same amount that would come out of the North Sea during the same time frame. This raises some interesting scenarios.

Firstly the place where they made the discovery is quite close to Gatwick Airport–or Gatportairwick as we in the flying game used to call it. The first ‘casualty’ of the find might be Gatwick’s bid to get another runway. Can’t have the bulldozers messing about, you could have oil spurting all over the place and spoiling the view. But what might the money be spent on?

A little known fact is that the present government has encouraged the development of a British space industry. Apparently we build quite good satellites and such. Might more funding go into that?

Ah, Hastings. Sorry to be a nuisance old boy–tea time and all that– but we appear to be experiencing a minor spot of bother up here.  Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it.

Good afternoon–and a beautiful one it is, here at the launch pad at Burpham. Clear blue skies and a light wind should favour the launch team, although the forecast is promising rain later on in the day. Some steam is emanating from the bottom of the  vehicle and is drifting across the launch pad but I’m assured that this is perfectly normal and should not affect play. The standby crew won the toss and a slightly disgruntled primary crew are waiting in the pavilion. Over in the control room the various officials have taken their places and the launch team captain has indicated to the umpire that all is ready. We are expecting the umpire to indicate that the launch can commence at any moment. No doubt Jonathan Agnew could do it better, but you get the idea. Not nearly so hysterical as the Colonials.

Of course, the new found wealth is bound to have an effect on the locals. Down at the Greyhound in Cocking Causeway they are unlikely to invest in a mechanical rodeo ride but perhaps a difficult to start lawnmower might be more in keeping? Hours of amusement for onlookers as half-cut contestants attempt to start the thing. Choke on or off, that could be the deciding factor in who becomes champion starter of the night.

The Weald region also encompasses Surrey. Might we see a resurgence of pinstripe suits and bowler hats. Not to mention Morris Minors–convertibles, of course. Local artisans would be doing a roaring trade in the fitting of yet more mock-Tudor facades and doubtless there would be complaints that ‘foreign’ artisans were coming in and undercutting the locals. Well, you just can’t trust them Hampshire boys, can you? Travel at least twenty or thirty miles to find work, some of them.


In truth, there is no danger of any of this happening. For a start all those oil rigs would spoil the view, so they’d never be granted planning permission. Even if they did get permission, the road network couldn’t support the extra traffic and groups of concerned residents in places like Three Cups Corner would insist on a 4 MPH speed limit for large lorries, probably with somebody walking in front of them waving a red flag. Ah no, hang on, that smacks of socialism. Perhaps waving a union flag or if UKIP do well in the election then the Cross of St George. Finally, all that new found wealth would probably be spent on something totally useless–the NHS springs to mind.

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