Residents of Freshwater, Isle of Wight, have once again bowed to the astonishingly reliable post-event wisdom of Colin Wilkinson, 59, after a parish poll about whether to support the development of a new leisure centre on the Colbourne Road went more than two to one against, exactly as Wilkinson postdicted.
Wilkinson, who has lived in Freshwater all his life, told locals in the Fox and Geese on the evening after the result was declared: ‘You didn’t need to have a vote on that, folks was always going to go against it. I could have told you that. Costs too much to build. Stands to sense, doesn’t it?’
Over the last 30 years, Wilkinson’s eerie ‘postscience’ has never ceased to amaze his neighbours. During the last 18 months, he successfully told anyone too polite not to listen to him that the county council were going to impose a 40 mph speed limit on a particularly twisty section of the road to Ventnor, that proposals for the primary school to be relocated would go nowhere and that the parish council would never raise enough from the annual jumble sale to fund a full steeple restoration. In many cases, he has made his prognostication only a matter of hours after the news had broken.
‘Colin’s never been wrong about anything, ever,’ said town clerk Daphne Thomas. ‘And to think of all the money we’ve wasted on public consultations down the years when he could have just told us. I suppose some might say it would be better if we asked him to for the answer before rather than after it happens, but then again, as he says, what does he know, he’s only lived here all his life, so he’s not in a position to say, is he?’
When regulars at the Fox and Geese suggested that Mrs Thomas was probably being sarcastic and insinuating that he was actually an intensely annoying waste of carbon who had nothing constructive to offer, Wilkinson said: ‘Well, yeah, that’s right – and you didn’t need to tell me, I could have told you that for nothing. No, hang on a minute…’