Wednesday 22 May 2013

Shut your mouth

I love my cycling, but it's not without its dangers.

I wasn't particularly hungry when I got home from my ride last night.  I tend to ride with a big smile on my face, and with my mouth open I managed to eat a fair few flies.  The first one was a big one and I nearly choked.  I tried to keep my mouth shut, but obviously failed, as I had a steady intake for the entire 18 miles. I'm sure it'll do me good.

So I give you a version of an old favourite:

There was an old man who swallowed a fly. 
I don't know why he swallowed a fly. I guess he'll die.
There was an old man who swallowed a spider 

That wiggled and jiggled and tickled insider him. 
He swallowed the spider to catch the fly. 
I don't know why he swallowed a fly. I guess he'll die.
There was an old man who swallowed a bird. 
How absurd! To swallow a bird! 
He swallowed the bird to catch the spider 
That wiggled and jiggled and tickled insider him. 
He swallowed the spider to catch the fly. 
I don't know why He swallowed a fly. I guess he'll die.

(Continue verses) 
Cat . . . Imagine that! He swallowed a cat. 
Dog . . . What a hog! He swallowed a dog. 
Goat . . . He opened his throat and in walked a goat. 
Cow . . . I don't know how he swallowed that cow.
There was an old man, he swallowed a horse. He died of course!

When I'm on the cycle path that runs along the canal and is shared by cycles and pedestrians I'll use my bell to make people aware of my imminent's tricky to get it just right so you don't frighten them.  I'll always say thank you and normally throw in a a'good morning' or 'good evening' for good measure.  Generally the going is good, but yesterday I was confronted by two cyclists riding side by side blocking the path as they came towards me.  I'd like to think they were distracted by their conversation, but as they weren't talking that couldn't have been the case.  It wasn't until we all stopped facing each other like troops on the demilitarised zone in Korea that it seemed to dawn on them that unless they went single file we'd be stuck for ever.

On the road, it's a matter of taking my life in my hands.  I don't use a bell, as I've found a bellow at the top of my voice is usually more effective.  Yesterday, I didn't hesitate to use  the words Fxxxxxg cxxt at the woman who was texting whilst driving her BMW and had managed to career into the cycling lane just in front of me. She seemed completely taken aback, and I don't know why, as I doubt her text was more important than my life.  A few hundred yards along a man was reading his copy of The Sun whilst driving along in the cycle lane.  He got the same treatment.  I think I'm totally fact in younger days, I probably would have snapped off his wing mirror as a more lasting reminder.  Thank heavens I've mellowed.

On a lighter note, I smiled at the white van driver who bellowed "Two nil" to me in Bermondsey Street.  I always cycle in my Brighton and Hove Albion Away's a very bright green and black strip which generally makes me quite noticeable.  2-0 was the score last week when Crystal Palace stopped my team having any chance of a place in the Premiership.

On another lighter note, George is coming on fine now.  He's hobbling around, and last week celebrated his birthday...I think he appreciated it was one he may well not have seen without a good deal of luck and the efforts from the very fabulous doctors and nurses of the NHS.

I was prompted to write his post because of this

Tuesday 21 May 2013

"If my mother was standing here now she would tell you that.....

...your sister was to blame for me not going to Oxford University"

When I was a lad, although we weren't in any way short of toys, there were some things that we loved playing with that weren't bought from the shops.

I remember making a 'Jodrell Bank' radio telescope out of matchboxes.

There was always a cotton reel around, we knocked some nails into it and did some knitting with Mum's wool....long thin knits which had no use what so ever.  Was this called French knitting?  Seems appropriate to me.

Egg boxes were fantastic source materials, and galleons were the best things to make.  I have a feeling, although I can't remember, that they went in the bath without water proofing and sank honourably.  No doubt Grandma in Cyprus will put me right on that.  At the weekend we usually have a cooked breakfast/brunch, usually involving eggs, and this inspired me to relive my childhood.  Naturally The Boy joined in...and in fact took over.  The result was splendid:

HMS Sunny Eggs

If I can persuade The Cat to give me one of her cotton reels (or if not, I will have to go on a dawn raid), my plan is to make one of these:

A cotton reel tank.  If The Boy makes one too, we'll have a battle...

Simple things.

Anyway, back to my Dinner on Friday night.  I was chatting to a woman who had in fact married one of the teachers.  As we spoke it soon became apparent that we had met a very long time ago.  I didn't know her too well, but I knew her sister very well indeed.  In fact I had known her sister so well that I had been completely distracted from my studies when I should have been trying to get into Oxford.  I'll never know if I was capable, but I didn't get in.  If I had, my life would have been quite different.  Not to worry, different doesn't mean better; just different.

It was, if nothing else, a good life lesson.  And perhaps that's why I'm so firm when I think The Boy is allowing romantic thoughts get in the way of academic success

Monday 20 May 2013

Into Darkness

It's not often the top of our road is on the national news.  We've had film crews and TV crews, but never as far as I know the BBC, Sky and ITN, etc.  Unfortunately it wasn't for a good reason.  Three people had been shot on Saturday night; one died.  And this in lovely Hove, supposedly the sleepy, up-market part of the millennium city of Brighton and Hove.  I'm not going to join the chorus of comments in the local paper saying that the country's going to the dogs.  It was an awful event, but I suspect a one off.  We're a country with some of the strictest gun laws in the world, so it merely demonstrates that if someone wants to get hold of a gun and use it, they will.

Friday night was our Celebration Dinner...the culmination of several month's efforts. The Boy, The Cat and Namesake were all there to help out, and earn £20 into the bargain for serving the wine.  They may yet have a career ahead of them.... All went well, although we had two unexpected guests arrive, so there was a rapid reshuffling to fit them was kind of inevitable I guess...not much more to say other than everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and my back is sore from all the pats on the back and votes of thanks for organising it.  Really rather pleased that it went well, and of course for not letting my Boy down!  The Cat's Mother is pleased because our table drank more wine than any other.  I didn't know it was a competition.

Saturday was another celebration, and an altogether stranger one for me.  It was Young Muffin's First Holy Communion, and the service was conducted at the Muffin Mansion by a friendly priest.  I'm quite clear on my own religious views these days, although it's taken me nearly fifty years to get there.  I believe in God, but organised religion is not for me.  Beyond that, I worry about children being indoctrinated at such a young age...but I understand, that if you don't get them young, you probably won't get them at all.  As I sat there listening to the service, I was delighted to see Young Muffin beaming from ear to ear, whilst at the same time, couldn't restrain the thought in my head that his was all mumbo jumbo.  The Cat's Mother and her family are all very firmly committed Catholics, so as with every relationship we all have to make compromises...and this is one that I do.  Quite happily.

We're not Star Trek fans by any stretch of the imagination  but on Sunday night we went to see the new one...Into Darkness. We've developed an emotional bond with the current series which comes out our trip to Jordan last year.  We'd been travelling all day in the hot, dusty desert, and arrived at the Dead Sea, exhausted, well dead on our feet really.  So we had our evening meal sent up to our room...The Cat and The Boy with us.  We ate our food, and then all four of us climbed into bed to watch a DVD of the rebooted Star Trek.  There was something about the evening...a warm breeze, some nice wine, and a lovely family was fabulous.  The film was terrific.  So of course we had to see this one, and it was a great romp.  I've read the reviews, which essentially say 'good effort, not as good as the last one', but actually for us it was a marvellous adventure.  One word of advice to myself though, don't drink 24 fluid ounces of coffee just before it starts.

And to cap it all, this was in the foyer...we can't wait!