A housing benefits officer is recovering in hospital after being hit by a large piece of tumbleweed. Bill Slater, who works for Birmingham City Council, had gone to work as usual on Wednesday morning when the incident happened.
“As I walked up the main steps into the building I had growing a sense of unease. The Group 4 security guard was asleep in his chair as usual and Joyce, the latest agency cleaner, had already gone home after her twelve hour shift. With all the staff cuts things had been very quiet anyway, except for the incessant ringing of telephones in deserted offices as members of the public tried in vain to get through to someone.”
In the staff kitchen Bill found his favourite mug out of hundreds of abandoned coffee mugs and made himself a cup of tea, as had been his habit for over thirty years. He then shuffled over to his desk alone in the office which he had previously shared with thirty three other members of staff.
“It was just a normal day. I took a few sips of tea and thought back to the good old days in the housing department, of all the tears and all the laughter, the former from our clients and the latter from the staff. Suddenly a huge pile of confidential-benefit applications, dating from as far back as 2005, lifted into the air and out of the window.”
Bill ran out of the office and into the corridor where a huge ball of tumbleweed carried on a howling gale hit him flat in the chest. The impact sent him flying backwards into a dried up water dispenser. Despite his injuries he is expected to make a full recovery.
In the meantime experts have analysed the tumbleweed which consisted of dried up spider plants, paper clips, office party hats and silly string.
The health and safety executive is not expected to look at ways of preventing similar accidents in abandoned town halls up and down the country due to more government cuts.