CLIVE SMITH: Salisbury open for business? You must be kidding

Salisbury Cathedral sits centre stage in the magnificent 80-acre Cathedral Close, the largest in Britain, but would you visit at the moment?
Salisbury Cathedral sits centre stage in the magnificent 80-acre Cathedral Close, the largest in Britain, but would you visit at the moment?
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Home secretary Sajid Javid has visited Salisbury and Amesbury to check-out the locations of where the four people have been affected by the nerve agent Novichok.

And he has declared the areas ‘Open for business’.

Hey look, come to Salisbury, have drink or two. A bite to eat. A bit of shopping. We’re open for business. Just don’t touch anything. Nothing to worry about here.

He added: ‘If you want a good day out, why not come and show your support at the same time as having fun with your family.’

Er, no thanks Sajid, I’ve already booked tickets for a mustard gas party. They’re serving ricin cupcakes and ebola lemonade!

And what business is he talking about? The business of being poisoned? I’d hardly be coming out in the media declaring somewhere is safe when just a couple of days previously someone had died. In fact, I’d expect the family of the deceased to find it disrespectful.

They are still no closer to knowing where the first incident happened. And they’re happy to call it safe. It’s not really safe is it?

One positive to take from this I suppose is that the local tailors are doing a roaring side-line in Hazmat decontamination suits. It reminds me of Jaws 2 – ‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.’

But this is not Amity Island, it’s a cathedral city in the UK and people’s lungs aren’t working.

But just in case you do think you’ve been exposed to the deadly chemical, take heed of the government advice and use baby wipes. Really? Other than its intended use, the good old baby wipe is good for plenty of things about the house, but saving someone from a nerve agent? I wouldn’t be so keen to test that one out.

The wind, rain, snow and whatever else the British weather had to offer over the past four months didn’t work, but Johnson & Johnson have got your back with their wide range of baby wipes. I’m looking forward to their next advert.


Among all the spectacular goals, underdog triumphs and wild scenes around the country, another great football story over the past week was that rescue mission to save the 12 young Thai boys and their football coach from flooded caves.

It was amazing because I can’t say it looked too clever for them to begin with.

Two weeks they were stuck in that cave not knowing if they were going to drown or see if football came home.

I’ve never liked the idea of ‘caving’. My ever-increasing belly is hardly ideal for squeezing through 40cm gaps. Imagine the indignity of getting stuck in a cave because you couldn’t keep your hand out of the sweet jar and your last thought was of a Wagon Wheel and a pack of prawn cocktail Discos. Oh the irony.


I went to an ’80’s music festival the other week and boy was it hot.

I went with the missus and as we found our spot we looked around and everyone else had come a lot more prepared than us with chairs and

parasols. We were sitting out in the sun literally roasting.

Between acts, as the sun slowly cooked my ever-reddening face, my mind wandered to thoughts of being lost out in the Sahara.

On Facebook the next day I saw that two of my friends had entered different endurance events that same day. One a 100k ultra marathon, the other a 125km cycle ride. In the same sun I was baking in!

Reading through their trials and tribulations it kind of put into perspective my struggle of walking to the bar.