Land of Dope and Glory
British television botanist, Professor David Bellamy, is making a documentary about mysterious cannabis plants growing along the River Darwen, next to Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park football stadium.
Experts believe a high incidence of urine entering the river on match days is responsible for cannabis plants flourishing. The end of dredging of the River Ribble estuary, since the Preston Dock’s closure, means its tributary, the River Darwen, is now almost tidal. It has also been known to rise by three feet on match days. This phenomenon usually occurs at half time during football matches.
Cannabis plants started appearing along the river bank about two years ago. This coincided with Blackburn Rovers’ increased attendances and the ending of Ribble estuary dredging.
Nobody knows where these plants originated. They are believed to be a rare strain which thrives on hops, malt and barley. This reflects traditional pre-match activity by Rovers fans. They normally thrive along dry river banks, but only need watering once a fortnight. Ewood Park would seem a natural irrigation system, thanks to seasonal football matches taking place here. Although the Environmental Agency may have something to say about this form of waste disposal in future.
Police warn potential marijuana users to keep away from the river’s banks. Drug Squad officers are empowered to arrest anybody seen acting suspiciously in the River Darwen. Their biggest fear is a chemical spillage into the river causing spontaneous combustion of the bank’s flora. If this happened during a Rovers match we could have a nightmare scenario. Imagine 20,000 people taking their clothes off and singing ‘Wild Thing’!
Professor Bellamy has this advice for Rovers fans: ‘These plants shouldn’t give off any intoxicating aromas normally. If in doubt, hold your breath as you enter the ground.’
Contingency plans have already been made to install giant wind machines around Ewood Park. These contraptions would blow cannabis smoke in a town centre direction, towards Blackburn or Darwen. Here it may be neutralised by carbon monoxide gases from motor vehicles, or vapour from the Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn town centre.
Not everybody wants this. Some supporters see the intoxicating cannabis aromas as a welcome distraction from some of the less enjoyable football games which take place during a season. Others see it as conducive to an enjoyable evening out after the match.
One Rovers fan commented: “If I’m going to have the piss taken out of me, I might as well have a good night out in town later.”