I was both amused and disgusted to read that the British bureaucracy has struck again - this time at the World Walking The Plank Championship in Kent.
Pirates taking part in an annual walk-the-plank competition were told to cancel the event by health and safety bosses unless they could prove the sea water was clean enough for them to jump into.
The World Walking the Plank championship, which takes places this Sunday, was finally given clearance at the 11th hour today after organisers drafted in their own scientist.
Chemical analyst Michael Young took a sample of the sea water from the Queenborough Harbour on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, and declared it safe for 'pirates' to walk the plank into.
He had to take the sample to health and safety bosses at Swale Borough Council, so its own scientists could confirm the findings.
Mr Young, 57, said today: 'I have analysed the water in the creek and deem it suitable to be planked in.'
. . .
Organiser of the event, a man known only as Captain Cutlass, confirmed: 'As a result of our own exhaustive tests the World Walking the Plank championships are still on for Sunday.
'The plank-off starts at 2pm just before high tide.'
He added: 'It infuriates me officials always come up with reasons why Britain can't have fun. It's time we fought back - which is what we pirates do best.'
The competition, which has been held for the last 12 years, judges 'pirates' on use of pirate language such as 'Avast' or 'Arrr Matey', original costume, execution of jump and overall star quality - dubbed the 'Aargh Factor'.
The event, which has to warn its contestants that they 'could get wet' as part of its insurance, takes place this Sunday.
There's more at the link, including more pictures from last year's competition.
Y'know, for some unaccountable reason, I can't for the life of me imagine Blackbeard, Calico Jack or Henry Morgan taking kindly to such a notification from the authorities. In fact, I daresay they might be so annoyed as to burn down the health and safety offices - with their bureaucratic occupants chained to their desks inside!