The Independent Republic of Tawa East

Stung by the totally scurrilous claim that occupants of the sunny eastern hills of the Vale of Tawa were “from the wrong side of the tracks,” a small but determined bunch decided to take action recently.

The added barb that we tend to run in circles when visiting the flatlands because we have one leg worn down more than the other from constantly trekking along the slopes was the final straw.

The IRaTE Council was promptly formed to establish the Independent Republic of Tawa East and at its first meeting a leader, the Chief Tetch, was elected. The Council voted to declare a republic immediately and establish checkpoints to prevent westerners from accessing our sunny and pleasant lands. True, they would have the shops (a bit of an oversight, that) but we would have the rail network and the motorway.

Plans to erect a border crossing hit an immediate snag when the Council discovered that an even bigger oversight had occurred – they would have the local pub as well. “Ooooh err,” said the Chief Tetch, “that’s a bit rum. Perhaps we’d better rethink our strategy.”

A meeting had been pencilled in for a fortnight hence to find a way back without loss of dignity, and it was hoped that holding the meeting at The Roundabout might provide the type of insights that often come from the amber nectar.

Regrettably, there were a few die-hard members of the Council who had skills in the art of home-brewing making the loss of the local pub somewhat painless for them. And slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us….

At 5 this morning, they hijacked a rather bright truck proudly labelled “Traffic Control” with bright flashy important-looking lights and set off to establish Checkpoint Tawa. The truck, known locally as “Breezy” has a wheezy demeanour, and tends to emit rather noisy squeaks and grunts every time she stops and applies her pneumatic brakes. Nevertheless, despite emitting assorted squeaks, pops and other unflattering noises, she met no resistance and kept insomniac Tawa-ites entertained for well over half-an-hour as she scurried here and there laying out a skirmish line.

By dawn, her handywork was complete. Tawa Street had been severed at the Redwood Station railway crossing with jaunty orange witches hats and fancy signs proclaiming “ROAD CLOSED” and the Ontrack boys with big toys could begin their work. Resplendent in bright orange jackets, they began sawing, hammering and grinding while the southerly howled through the crossing flinging chilly raindrops at them.

Throughout the day, locals have been entertained by bright yellow six-wheeler buses proudly labelled “rail replacement” hooning back and forth along Duncan Street. Like lost whales they tend to get a little beached when they encounter the roundabout at the blocked-off entry to Tawa Street, but some deft driving and six-point turns allow them to about-face and recommence their journey. Lucky we don’t have any of Red Ken’s “bendy buses” here! But I suppose new mayor Boris would be delighted if a spaghetti-pot of London’s bendy buses developed in front of his eyes.

Long have they laboured these miracle workers from Ontrack and the fruit of their enterprise has swiftly taken shape. Long booms painted red and white have been erected, but it looks like our border guards are going to be midgets if they are to live in the attached pillar boxes.

However, it seems that the renegade members of IRaTE have been foiled in their mischievous plot. The boys from Ontrack weren’t off-track in erecting a border crossing. They have replaced the aging barrier arms at the railway crossing and the cheerful ding-ding-ding will soon be ringing out calling cheery commuters to their daily commute.

It must be Sunday.

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