You should not let first impressions deceive you – Lesley Keating 

A picture of Oxted high street in East Surrey.
A picture of Oxted high street in East Surrey.

Appearances certainly can be deceptive. Driving to Kent the other day, we decided to stop somewhere en-route for lunch and Oxted was the nearest option.

Neither of us had been there before. It’s on the Surrey/Kent border and seemed innocuous enough - leafy and quiet, with florists, boutiques and trendy independent shops selling things like hand painted furniture. 

It appeared to be a relaxed and affluent home town. The type you assume is frequented by families with children at private schools, who spend their weekends on ponies or playing golf.

The overriding vibe of Oxted was that of unhurried peace and quiet. In fact, the most interesting thing is probably that it holds an annual ‘pram race’.

Not on Tuesday last week…

During our lunch in a quirky local café, all hell suddenly broke loose as an elderly lady, sat at a window table, dramatically collapsed. Within minutes the place was full of anxious staff on mobiles awaiting an ambulance which arrived with sirens and flashing lights. Soon the place was crawling with paramedics.

Walking back to the car, musing over the event, Mike suddenly spotted a fire engine parked just up the road with a crowd around it. Alarmed, we hurried along in time to see firemen running hoses into a shop and holding back an audience of gawping bystanders all speculating what was going on.

Shaking our heads in disbelief at the chance of two such momentous events within a short space of time in such a sleepy little place, we were then horrified to see a large crowd congregating further up the road - just near our car!

Well, they do say things come in threes…

We arrived just as a badly smashed car was being pushed off the road by police in hi-vis jackets. The airbags had gone off and it had somehow embedded itself diagonally on the pavement outside a shop! 

So, sleepy Oxted, you sure have hidden depths! What are the chances of an ambulance, a fire engine and a car accident all within just one hour? 

Just goes to show you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover…

House parties are safer than drunken holidays abroad…

GCSE results are now out, leaving parents with the age-old dilemma of how much freedom to allow their 16-year-olds to celebrate. 

I really feel for the ones trying to decide whether to allow their kids to go on celebratory holidays with their mates.

They know 16-year-olds will probably drink and do daft things. It’s a minefield.

We once stayed in Rhodes where three teenage lads were doing just that. The night they arrived, one of them, fuelled with cheap lager, decided to climb onto the bar roof to ‘fly’ his Union Jack towel and fell. All three were flown back before they’d even got a tan. 

You need nerves of steel to let them have a party at home, but it’s probably safer.

Now we have more evidence, we need another referendum

So, the Government is releasing papers to advise people and companies on what could happen if there is a no deal Brexit. 

It’s a pity they hadn’t released a lot more concrete advice to people about what could happen when we were first encouraged to vote in the referendum!

I know lots of people who voted remain and also equal amounts of who voted leave. But were all unanimous in agreeing they found the information at the time confusing, conflicted and woolly. I think the Government should call one final referendum now, based on evidence that’s subsequently come to light rather than simply doling out scaremongering propaganda.