We have a local newspaper which affords me a great deal of amusement. It's full of headlines like "Wing Mirror Knocked Off Vauxhall In Market Street" (no explanation needed, I think) and "Staff Dressed To Impress" (waitresses in local cafe get new tabards). I find the WI reports endearing: "Mr Robson came to talk to us about the birds he spotted in his garden last year. His slides were very interesting and we all enjoyed hearing about his feathered friends. A vote of thanks was given by Mrs Audrey Brown, and then we had a nice cup of tea and some sugar buns which Mrs Doris Barnett had kindly brought for us."
Townsfolk are often asked for their views on matters of local importance. For example, this week one of the town's central car parks was partly closed for refurbishment. A local chap was quoted as saying "If we can't park there we might have to go somewhere else." Incisive analysis, I think you'll agree.
The real news is the farming news. The journalists get fully engaged with questions like whether to sell lambs now or wait to see whether prices will rise over the next couple of weeks. These pages contain impassioned, well-researched arguments, and I'm sure many readers turn to them first. (The sport pages are quite well written, too, but I'm not interested in those.)
However, it often seems that the journalists have little energy or creativity left over for the rest of the paper. This can lead to unintentional funnies, even in a very unfunny story. For example, a local timber merchant has recently gone bust due to the credit crunch. This is very sad, there have been a couple of dozen job losses, and local people will have to travel much further for their wood. The story is accompanied by a large photo of the business owner, looking utterly dejected, leaning on a pile of planks, with lots more planks stacked up in the background.
So why, oh why, did the paper quote him as saying "At the moment I can't really see the wood for the trees"?