Monday, 11 January 2010

Snowing Me Snowing You (A-Ha)

In case it has escaped your attention, it's been snowing a bit in the UK.

Quite apart from the usual snowy Britain experiences - cancelled trains, slushy roads and over-excited weather forecasters - I've also learned a few slightly more esoteric things about life, which I am generously sharing with you, dear reader. Never let it be said that this blog doesn't enrich your life. Even if it is self-evidently true.

A new respect for ungulates

Being as I am one of those weedy people that can't feel their toes once the mercury drops below 4 Celsius, in the past few weeks I've taken to wearing two - or even three - pairs of socks at once. One of the unforeseen side-effects of this additional insulation is that my shoes no longer fit, and I end up tottering down the road like a satyr that has had a few too many sherries (albeit without the perpetual erection, I might add).

I never gave much thought to what it must be like to have hooves before, but now I realise how ungainly they are, I say 'jolly well done' to all the sheep, pigs, horses and Satans out there.

Panic buying can get surreal

I went down to my town's supermarket over the weekend to get some supplies, only to find the store resembled a scene from a nuclear holocaust movie. No bread. No tinned food. No milk. All the staple items had been bought en masse by people presumably expecting to be sealed off from civilisation like Ernest Shackleton for the next six months.

I guess this is to be expected, particularly with the newspapers enjoying stories about how Britain has returned to the Stone Age, but there was one particular item that I did not expect to see people fighting over - cat litter. Yes, cat litter: those absorbent little pellets are apparently the best substitute for road grit available. Now the pavements are strewn with cat litter, I do wonder if the local feline population just thinks the town has become one enormous toilet.

No change there, then.

A sholley is a weapon

There is a fairly high proportion of retired folk in the town where I live, which adds a little extra spice to the snowy scenes. I was expecting to see carnage in town - old people flying all over the place, broken hips aplenty... but in fact the cunning old codgers seem to have worked out that their sholleys act as an extra foot, giving them the stability of a tripod.

Unfortunately this is also allied with the braking and steering ability of a supertanker. Anyone walking within 20 yards of a sholley-wielding pensioner is therefore in imminent danger of being swamped by a phalanx of tartan-clad shopping bags.

Believe me. It's no coincidence that the more pointy parts of the sholley are exactly at testicle height. You have been warned.

There is good money in plastics

Sales of non-essential items have plunged during the cold snap. Perhaps that's not surprising, that people are postponing the purchase of large items when they can barely walk. But there are still some items flying off the shelves, and it would appear that none are selling faster than sledges.

Not those nice solid old wooden sledges, like Rosebud. Oh no. This is 2010, so our wee kids have to have a pink slab of moulded plastic to sit on. At £30 a pop.

Even Russell Brand is at it. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work.

I am not ready for Canada

Here we are in the third or fourth week of the Big Freeze (TM), and it amazes me that not only has the country not ground to a halt, but I also currently still have a full quota of toes and fingers. Nevertheless, if there is much more of this sub-zero ice-fest, I may have to go into hibernation. I would not last five minutes in Calgary. Especially walking like I've got hooves.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Noughties & Teens

Another year has turned - another decade, too, according to some (but not all) - and traditionally one tends to look back at the year just gone, and look forward to the year to come, which might make one look like Marty Feldman for a moment (I've actually got a headstart on that one). This blog entry is made in something like that spirit, only without actually making any sense.*


Well, what a year that was. Last year I:

Saw the G20 demo in London

I was working that day, but did manage to see at least a little bit of egregious police brutality. Mostly because a riot kicked off right outside my office. A highlight has to be the demonstrator dressed in a pink Star Wars Stormtrooper outfit. At least I assume he was a demonstrator, he could have been FIT undercover...

Got married

Actually that's not quite true, I got married in 2008. But I stayed married in 2009, which I consider to be equally momentous as an achievement. Yay me. (And yay my wife, obv.)

Met Paul Watson

Somewhere in the bowels of HMS Belfast, I managed to grab a few words with eco-legend Paul Watson. Watson is currently in the Southern Ocean, chasing down Japanese whalers with a view to ramming them, throwing rancid butter at them, and casting aspersions on their parentage. Good man. Me? I got a signed book and a hoodie. You don't actually expect me to DO something, do you? Sheesh. It's cold down there, you know.

Got dogs

For some reason, my wife obviously thought there wasn't nearly enough farting going on in our house. Believe me, there was no shortfall on my account.

Gor blimey that's a fruity one...


This year I hope to:

Start a revolution

Frankly I'm fed up waiting for the Iranians. Clearly they're just not putting the effort in. I therefore propose to combine my 2010 holiday with some good old-fashioned revolutionary fervour. This may include executions at football grounds (I currently favour Fratton Park, starting with that idiot with the sodding Pompey Bell), extraordinary renditions (again, Fratton Park comes immediately to mind as the most unappealing place I can think of, offhand) and brutal suppression of the media. Actually, bringing down the apparatus of the State takes a secondary priority to eliminating the world's most annoying campanologist. The revolution can wait.

Rename the year

Twenty-Ten, or Two-Thousand and Ten? Such is the current debate on naming the new year. Well, let me tell you something - you are ALL wrong. It's twenty hundred and one-oh. Or possibly the square root of Forty-Forty-One-Hundred. I hope that helps.

Make better use of similes and metaphors

It's as clear as beer. If I can hit that bullseye, then the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. I speak with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

Start training for the Olympics

Bearing in mind that I am both British, and hideously unfit, I need to select an event carefully. One that involves sitting down, ideally. And one that involves almost no physical exertion. Currently I'm torn between going for the PS3 Call Of Duty event, or the 4x400 spliff-rolling relay. Either way, I'd better get my thumbs in condition in time for London Square-Root-of-Forty-Forty-Eight-One-Hundred-And-Forty-Four. Hup hup hup... aaaaand relax.

Happy New Year!

* Should all or any part of this blog entry actually make sense, please disregard. This is clearly an unintended side-effect. Please ensure all jars of peanut butter are kept at a safe distance until the effect wears off.