Potholes? You call those potholes?

A tale of two potholed cities, both called Cranbrook

Trisha Fermor, a Cranbrook-area resident, said this: “The roads have never been as bad as they are now. Potholes are a pain in the neck.

“There is to nowhere to avoid them. Coming into Biddenden Road is potentially dangerous for cyclists and motorcyclists.”

Trisha Fermor is actually a resident of Wilsley Pound in Sissinghurst, which — whatever type of community that may be — is in the vicinity of Cranbrook. That’s actually Cranbrook, Kent, England.

Yes, in the parallel universe that Col. James Baker somehow created, they’re complaining about the potholes, to such an extent that the publication “This Is Kent” (a compilation of various Kentish newspapers) did a feature story on the subject, headlined “The Roads Have Never Been So Bad.”

Illustrating the story was a photograph of a jolly English pothole, which I, in the Cranbrook in the alternate universe, looked at with amusement. You call that a pothole?

Back in Kent, the villagers are calling for a crackdown on the holes, all across the Weald. The holes are a menace to the Common Weal! “If a horse was to stumble into one of the caverns that lie on Dingleden Lane on the way to Sandhurst, their leg would break,” said one parish councillor. (I wish we had more street names like “Dingleden” in Cranbrook, B.C.).

This is a problem I’ve never considered, that a horse could break his leg in our potholes (in Cranbrook, B.C.). The hoofed animals that populate our Cranbrook spring gaily over our holes, or dance nimbly around them, all the while dodging the traffic. In the meantime, we’re bringing our motorcarriages into shops on a regular basis to replace our suspension systems.

A Kent County councillor says this: “The extreme wet weather will cause potholes and we have geared up to tackle this, making permanent, first-time fixes as the first choice repair process.”

Must be nice — if all we had to worry about was the extreme wet weather as cause of the potholes, we’d be on easy street, no pun intended. Instead we have to worry about extreme wet weather followed by extremely cold weather. That situation doesn’t just create potholes, it creates rift valleys. This, coupled with the fact that Cranbrook (B.C.) is one of the last great towns to be built on a swamp, replete with underground streams galore, makes us the frost heave capital of the western world, which is the real reason, I swear, that horses no longer patrol our streets. Don’t want them stepping in our potholes and breaking their legs, innit?

The aforementioned parish councillor says: “The lanes around here are very thin so when the water comes down, it breaks up the road.”

Really? Your quaint, delicate little streets break apart under a little rain? Our tough, hardy western streets are torn asunder by the kind of frost heave that flings up mountain ranges. That’s what created the Rocky Mountains, you know. Frost heave! I swear it’s true!

Workmen from Kent Highways have been working to repair damage caused to roads in Cranbrook, Kent. The mayor of Cranbrook, B.C., said at the RDEK meeting Friday that workmen from Cranbrook (B.C.) spent as much time last winter repairing potholes as they did removing snow from our very unKentish streets.

The Kentish councillor said this: “On occasion we will make a temporary repair until a permanent one can be programmed in. We are committed to repairing these within 28 days.”

Ha ha! “Permanent…” Last year I noted a very bad pothole in a Cranbrook, B.C., neighbourhood. The City came out and repaired it right away — including a full-on repatch. A few months later, a new pothole had appeared, in a different spot of the intersection, like a bad case of eczema re-erupting on a troubled patch of skin.

Trisha Fermor of Wilsley Pound says: “The problem lies with Kent County Council not having enough money. Cuts have meant they just don’t have the resources to patch up the roads.”

Hmmm, where have I heard that before? But since the subject has come up, I will publicly suggest here that a far more efficient use of the money spent patching up roads in Cranbrook, B.C., may be to invest in an inventory of flying cars, which could be sold to the residents of Cranbrook at cost, thus taking everyone’s minds off the Cranbrook potholes fully, completely.

As for the residents of Cranbrook, Kent; if you’re not amenable to the idea of flying cars, or potholes as a rather permanent state of affairs — indeed, something to hold up as an emblem of civic pride, as I am attempting to do here, with varying degrees of success, I think — or a symbol of the awesome power of nature over which no amount of county funds can permanently fix, then I suggest replacing your community’s horses with more surefooted mules.

Or, to put the above 700 words another way: Potholes? You call those potholes?

To read about the potholes of Kent, go to:


Barry Coulter is Editor of the Cranbrook, B.C., Daily Townsman

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