We are so Sorrento – Rural Spaceman on the Amalfi Coast

 I had the great pleasure to holiday with Lady Barton St Mary in Sorrento, Italy, accompanied by our good friends The Sexton and Pen. Therefore, it was inevitable that I would write my usual informative, insightful and smug blog, showing how well travelled and sophisticated I am. Or, at least, how a rather confused Englishman with no addition language skills blunders his way around a European country trying to avoid making a fool of himself or offending the locals.

Lady BSM, as usual, had organised the entire trip with a frightening efficiency that would put any of those orange faced teenagers pushing buttons on a desktop computer in a travel agents to shame. The only slight worry she had was the quality of the hotel we booked in Naples for the first night before travelling by train the following day to Sorrento, which was described as ‘boutique’.

Indeed, having acquired a taxi amongst the normal Italian organised chaos at Napoli Airport and confirming the agreed €19 fare, we were driven dodgem style into Naples, to the aforementioned lodgings. Which was situated down a very narrow side street, where several characters sat on the side of the road, the lights of Napoli airport radiating out at the end of the road. The taxi driver pointed to a roller shutter door as he unloaded our cases and pocketed his €25 fare. As he disappeared into the distance, we surveyed the roller shutter door, with a very narrow door built into it. I rang the bell marked Hotel Sayonara. A muffled voice answered.

“Hello, we’re staying at your hotel!” I announced, before being reprimanded by Lady BSM. I was unaware of what I’d done wrong, but I think she feels its safer to reprimand me abroad, just in case.

The small door clicked and swung slowly open. The street residents continued to stare at us; the majority of them appeared to be of African origin, in vests and track suit bottoms. One or two other white characters were also present, one with torn trousers revealing a crotch devoid of underwear, walking on the spot.

We crammed our bodies through the narrow doorway, squeezing cases after us. Narrow doorways are a common theme in Italy, we discovered, along with very narrow, small lifts, wooden in construction, like antique telephone booths. They’re ideal for Italian supermodels on a hen do, but not so forgiving when it comes to four well developed English people trying to travel together. By the end of the week, getting in the similar lift at the hotel in Sorrento meant that our bellies touched after all the Italian food.

Walked across the courtyard and looked up at the five storeys above us – similar characters to the ones we’d seen outside stared back. The Hotel Sayanora was on the third floor. The helpful receptionist booked us in and showed us to our room. Here’s a picture:

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea...

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea…

“Do you think it’s a homage to Sponge Bob Squarepants?” I asked Lady BSM. She just stood and stared. As somebody has remarked, I shouldn’t have been taking pictures the bed, rather Lady BSM’s face.

As it turned out, everything was OK, we managed to find a small restaurant up the road and had our first pizza and Peroni of the week. Many more to follow. The following morning, the sun was bright and from the balcony of the hotel, you could see Mount Vesuvius looming nearby, just behind Napoli station. Below, the characters we saw the night before laid out their wares in the street market. Napoli’s answer to the King’s Cross district wasn’t so bad in the daylight.

Naples to Sorrento – Using the railway

The journey from Naples to Sorrento takes about an hour and a half on the romantically sounding Circumvesuviana, because that is what it does – circumvents the brooding volcano to get to the coast. It’s not quite that. It’s packed with passengers and there are 34 stops from Naples to the train’s termination in Sorrento, so standing was compulsory, giving you the opportunity to sample the heady aroma of deodorant (or not) of strap hanging travellers from around the world.

Hang on, where's the buffet car?

Hang on, where’s the buffet car?

Lots of people get out at Pompeii (to follow) and by station 23 we were all seated. To add to the entertainment were the buskers, who would scramble onto the train with saxophones, accordions and a speaker playing a backing track, before demanding spare change for their art. The performances were short, due to the fact that the buskers would hop from carriage to carriage to avoid the ticket inspector before eventually bailing to avoid paying any fare.

Sorrento

We stayed at The Carlton International Hotel in a room with a stunning view, overlooking the ever present Vesuvius (it is a natural photo bomb), the Isle of Capri and Amalfi in the distance. The hotel had a swimming pool, which we all used, especially Pen and I, but it was on the chilly side. I think they had a man out there early in the morning with a net on a long pole fishing out the penguins.

Sorrento was delightful; bustling, busy, pretty and somehow relaxed. This was off season, so I should imagine that peak holiday times are more stressful. Lovely shops and great

All aboard! Try not to peg out before disembarking!

All aboard! Try not to peg out before disembarking!

food. There is a lift down to the harbour and a road train. The demographic of Sorrento holiday makers tended towards the older generation and the train was popular. Hence, we christened it ‘The Grunter Train’.

 

 

 

Positano and Amalfi

We booked the tour bus, joining the rest of the grunters. It was good value and gave you a great view of all the sites as it took the winding, narrow, hilly road to Positano. Positano and Amalfi reminded me of some of those old romantic films starring Sophia Loren or Audrey Hepburn.

Amalfi. 'It looks like you've been cut and pasted on a postcard", said Miss Katherine.

Amalfi. ‘It looks like you’ve been cut and pasted on a postcard”, said Miss Katherine.

Pompeii

Pompeii. This was an ancient car park and shopping centre in AD50.

Pompeii. This was an ancient car park and shopping centre in AD50.

Again, back onto the Circumvesuviana from Sorrento to Pompeii with the other intrepid passengers and buskers. I always thought Pompeii was a few ancient dwellings containing several gruesome plaster cast figures in their death throes. How wrong was I. Pompeii is enormous, magical, thought provoking and takes hours to see. The forum contains some amazing examples of modern art.

There is an amphitheatre that had crowd trouble in AD59 and games were banned there for 10 years. I studied the photographs of the archaeological digs in the early 20th century. Imagining finding a wall with painted adverts from 2000 years ago sent shivers down my spine. Of course, after 5 hours of audio guidance and wondering at the thermopoliums –  ancient fast food joints, which are scattered all over Pompeii – you start to wonder – where are the bodies? The ones they discovered and poured plaster of paris

The victims of Pompeii. The guy on the left sat up as we arrived. Not really.

The victims of Pompeii. The guy on the left sat up as we arrived. Not really.

into the holes to replicate the victims buried remains (genius). We didn’t know, but a rather elderly Italian man with a fake laminated staff badge was happy to show us for ‘a drink’ (€5 approx).

I lost the others for half an hour after discovering the ‘Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii’ exhibition. I spent the rest of the week in my downtime listening to the album on Spotify.

Capri

A jet boat takes you over to the island of Capri, a beautiful island that is or was the holiday destination of choice for lots of Hollywood stars. Everything is smaller to accommodate – tiny buses and cars, trucks and electric buggies. We wanted to visit the Blue Grotto, but unfortunately the weather and tides were against us and it was closed. We had a very nice meal overlooking the sea, where Pen told us about the song ‘The Island of Capri’, which none of us had heard of, but Pen insisted it existed.

There was an Island of Capri...

There was an Island of Capri…

“There was a girl from the Island of Capri,” she crooned, before forgetting the next line. I’m still dubious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food

Is it impossible to dislike Italian food? Usually my diet is very low carbohydrate – no bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, low sugar intake. I decided to forgo this for the week and wasn’t disappointed. Most meals, I ordered pizza and Italian beer. Both are of an astounding quality in almost every establishment. The pasta dishes are simple and very tasty, with discerning and pleasant waiting staff. On one notable occasion, Pen ordered a seafood linguini.

“Can I have some grated parmesan, please?” she politely requested.

The waiter gave her a steady stare.

“No,” he said, straight faced, ‘you a have a seafood linguini, you have a no cheese on a dis.”

She laughed, thinking he was teasing. He wasn’t. Sprinkling parmesan onto my bolognese, he strode away, still looking at poor cheese less Pen.

We had one historic night in a taverna with tapas – lots of olives, cheese, meat – watching a very entertaining guitarist. We were the only ones in the taverna for an hour or so, but it gradually filled up with more English and American diners. The evening must have been entertaining, as the Peroni beers kept coming, along with the wine and the inevitable limoncello. Everywhere you go along the Amalfi coast, you will encounter lemon based products.Whole shops selling lemon everything, except real lemons.

Limoncello – a vodka based lemon drink- is compulsory at most eateries. It’s not my drink of choice, but I bravely carried on that night.

The drinks bill came to €85 and we made our way onto the narrow streets of Sorrento.

Parma Violet ice cream. It was so nice I eat loads before taking the photo.

Parma Violet ice cream. It was so nice I ate loads before taking the photo.

Where we discovered another Italian highlight – gelato. Ice cream. Even at 11pm, ice cream can be ace, like an Italian version of a doner kebab. There’s a myriad of flavours, too. I was hoping for liquorice, but instead made another wonderful discovery – parma violet ice cream. I was in gelato heaven.

Napoli Museum of Archeology

On our final day, we returned to Napoli and visited this museum. You see, most of the beautiful stuff from Pompeii is housed here. Statues, frescoes, mosaics and artefacts. It’s an amazing place. Another of those venues that make you gaze into the middle distance and whisper, ‘gosh’.

There is also a secret room containing the best of Pompeii’s porno collection. By the time we entered the secret room, two rather flustered teachers from France were trying to extract their bemused and giggling pupils. It’s nice to know that other Europeans share our humour for tits, bums and willies. Apparently, the best way to dispel evil spirits was to display either a model or drawing of a penis and

Pen appreciates the artwork of these ancient pots and wonders at the flexibility of ancient Pompeii residents.

The Secret Room – Pen appreciates the artwork of these ancient pots and wonders at the flexibility of ancient Pompeii residents.

testicles on your building. Very impressive they were, too, although I think it may take time to catch on in the UK. I should imagine the WI would take a dim view of somebody hanging a huge wanger on the entrance to the village hall.

As we sat together in the airport, waiting for the flight home, we discussed the things we hadn’t done. We hadn’t been to Herculaneum, allegedly just as impressive as Pompeii; the ‘Walk of the Gods’, a 7km hike along the cliffs of Amalfi; eaten more pizza, drank more Peroni, sampled more Limoncello. We’d have to come back, despite The Sexton’s fears of Vesuvius erupting at any moment.

I researched the song, ‘The Island of Capri’. Sorry Pen, for doubting you.

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Rural Spaceman’s Status Quo

I was listening to Danny Baker interview Francis Rossi on a podcast, when Danny asked Francis about Rick Parfitt. Francis made it quite clear that it was very unlikely that Rick would ever perform with the Quo again. The latest news from the BBC confirms this, saying it’s due to Rick’s heart problems; rather candidly, Rossi hinted at memory loss being Rick’s issue.

Which made me think of the time I met Rick Parfitt. I had stopped at the local petrol station to refuel. As I filled my car, I noticed a Rolls Royce ease into the space opposite me, with the giveaway registration of RP1.

Having finished, I headed toward the kiosk, aware of a flash of blonde hair to my right. As I reached the door, the famous guitarist was just behind me. Opening the door, I looked behind me, as Rick approached, limping. Our eyes met.

“My, the rock and roll years have taken their toll, haven’t they?” I commented.

Rick gave me a steady stare for a couple of seconds.

“You cheeky bastard. I fell off me ‘orse,” he explained, before giving me a broad grin and limping through the open doorway.

Which is why everybody should love Status Quo.

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Empty Nest Problems

The other week I popped in to Marks and Spencer, not to buy any more suits, like Lady Barton St Mary thinks I do, no; not even the rather fetching blue houndstooth one that was on offer, no, not even that one, because they didn’t have my size. I went in to purchase a new planner, as I do at this time every year.

His n' Hers - it's come to this. Only growing tomatoes awaits me...

His n’ Hers – it’s come to this. Only growing tomatoes awaits me…

However, as I entered the shop, I realised I had a bit of a dilemma. I usually get one that allows for at least four people, so that everybody in the family can write in what they’re up to. Except that our children, Miss Katherine and Master Johnny, are now both at university. Would they need a space on our calendar in the kitchen to inform/remind themselves of what they were doing?

No. Of course not, so I started to browse the calendars. I remembered Lady BSM saying that we wouldn’t need one at all, that we could use our phones instead. She’s right, but then I wouldn’t feel comfortable without a strip of card and paper nailed to the wall to write on; it’s  a tradition, like Christmas, Easter and gout.

As I made my choice, I wavered. University terms are incredibly short and holidays very long, surely the kids would need a space on our family planner. If I didn’t buy one, surely that sent out the message that they’d left home, had their own wall to hang their planner, that there was no need to record their comings and goings because they’d be coming and going somewhere else. Not at home. With their mummy and daddy.

It would be an admission that suddenly all those times listening to The Spice Girls or re-enacting scenes from WWE had disappeared over the horizon and I was the parents of adults. The sounds of my own name (dad-dad-dad-dad)  still seemed to echo around my skull but hadn’t been so insistent for several years. Suddenly I was that dad who had adventures long ago and talked about fine football players from long ago and gave sage advice on the best way to use gaffer tape or rod a drain. I was the dad showing delight at photos of my kids showing up on Faceache, counting the days until they came home again and I could regale them with my tales of football matches I’d refereed and my triumphant fixing of the toilet cistern.

I was my dad.

Which was not such a bad thing, I thought, standing in the calendar aisle with a far off look on my face. I sensed somebody close, in the black and green uniform of a Marks and Sparks employee. I smiled. She smiled back.

“Kids left home, then?” she said…

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Do It All Yourself

“Please,” said Lady Barton St Mary, gently stroking my cheek with the back of her hand, “Uncle Robin needs your help,” she said in her gentlest voice. I stiffened, swallowing hard.

“OK,” I managed to blurt, “I’ll go on Sunday”

It transpired that Uncle Robin, the wayward brother of The Marquess of Prestberries (Lady BSM’s Father) needed a bit of help in fixing his washing machine in his bachelor pad, since it was now flooding his kitchen. It appeared that the wild parties involving lots of romps in the whirlpool bath had taken their toll on the waste pipes, which I assumed had been blocked by jazz cigarette roaches and grey body hair.

Hence, his collection of tie dye shirts, cravats and kimonos were creating a sizeable pile in his boudoir, as he like to call it.

So, Sunday found me under the kitchen counter at Far Out Cottage, contemplating how to clear the blockage and fix the flooding.

“Can’t understand it,” said Wayward Brother Uncle Robin, leaning against the counter, wearing his best silk smoking jacket and munching a slice of buttered toast, “it never used to flood. I think the cosmic vibes may have been affected when Cameron visited the agricultural college. My pad reacts badly to the man,” he continued, waving his hand in the air to indicate the general atmosphere of the place.

” You need a spigot on your washing machine waste,” I explained, “I’ll have to go to B&Q and get it.”

“Groovy,” said Wayward Brother Uncle Robin, making a gun shape with his right hand and firing it at me. I took the appropriate piece for size and set off for the DIY store.

“Can you help me?” I asked the young gentleman wandering past me with a trolley full of products. He eyed me suspiciously. I checked his attire. Black and Orange polo shirt, white laminated badge with the legend “Leno” typed on it.

“I need to find a part to fit a washing machine waste pipe – I’ve looked, but I can’t find the right diameter.”

Leno blinked and looked over my shoulder, into the far distance, searching for an answer like a sailor, three months at sea, seeking land.

“Have you looked in Plumbing?” he enquired.

“No, I was looking in the aisle full of canvas prints of kittens, Elvis and Marilyn Munroe – what a fuckwit I am,” I nearly said.

But I’m English, so I just said, “Actually, yes I have.”

Leno studied the circular piece of plastic in my hand.

“It needs to have the same size screw thread as this part,” I explained.

Leno’s eyes suddenly came to life.

“Yes! Have you looked in the screws section?” he asked excitedly.

Oh dear.

My look was enough and Leno stared at the floor. “Erm, no perhaps not there,” he said.

We made our way to Plumbing, tearing open several packets to find the right piece before Leno admitted defeat and went back to his specialist area, whatever that was.

There was a happy ending. I cobbled together a few bits that I purchased from the DIY shop and fixed the flooding problem. Wayward Brother Uncle Robin was delighted, hugging me and handing me a biscuit tin full of his special cookies to share with Lady BSM. As I write, we’re sitting in the drawing room at Randall Towers eating them. For some reason, we both feel very relaxed. What’s more, the more we eat, the hungrier we feel …

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Doing things by half – the Cheltenham Half Marathon

As you may know, I’m a bit of a runner. One of those slightly eccentric people that likes to leave their house in a state of semi-undress, usually in bright colours made of materials better suited to super heroes and run myself to near exhaustion before ending up where I started. Somehow, this is classed as entertainment and is good for you.

This is how I ended up at Cheltenham today, to run the half marathon, an annual event that has grown in popularity since its inception 3  years ago. Actually, I didn’t enter until late on, encouraged by the other delivery staff at (almost) voluntary work, namely Little Andrew and Mrs Napier Brown Ellis Jones latterly of Leckhampton. It was Mrs NBEJloL’s first half marathon, after vowing that she would never do one 3 years ago. This is how runners evolve, like drug addicts. They start off small, thinking they can handle it and before they know it, they’re pounding the streets, spitting on the pavement and having their gait analysed. Little Andrew, like me, had run quite a few half marathons, so we knew what to expect.

But we didn’t. Arrive an hour before the race, the race booklet told us. You’ll be led to the start half an hour before the off. None of us took any chances. It’s a 20 minute journey from my house, so I set off an hour and a half before the start…

To find myself in the biggest queue ever to get in. Conveniently, they’d organised a schools’ challenge race on the same day. As I sat in the traffic queue, parents abandoned their cars on the side of the road and dragged their kids to the entrance. The poor sods would’ve been knackered before they started. Text messages were exchanged. Little Andrew convinced a lovely lady attendant that I was disabled and needed to park next to the start and that I’d be there in 10 minutes. It worked.

Just before the start Mrs NBEJloL texted

‘Still in traffic ffs’

Not very Mrs NBEJloL, to be honest.

Running around Cheltenham is always a pleasant experience, since they do so well to hide all the less posh bits. My half marathon times (in fact my running performances) have dipped considerably in the last three years. Maybe it’s my age, although others seem to go from strength to strength. My body, however, has come to an agreement with my brain.

“Look,” says body, “I’m fed up with being blistered, worn down, puffed out and bruised. Can you tell him?”

“Tell you what I’ll do,” says brain. “I’ll let him get all confident, then at mile 8 I’ll tell him to fuck all this speed nonsense. You just squeeze the lungs and make the legs go wobbly. It’ll work a treat.”

And it does. I’m now resigned to having to just enjoy the scenery and do very little uncomfortable efforts.

The volunteers and general public are very helpful. The water stations give you sports bottles of water rather than plastic cups, which tend to spill everywhere except in your mouth.

There is also a concerted effort to make you eat sugar. Volunteers trying to foist sugary sports drinks into your hand and special ‘jelly baby stations’. It’s as if the British psyche, scared that we’ll lose the one thing we’re top at, namely obesity, will be lost.

I plodded around, encouraged by the crowds and the local radio presenters, who set their speakers up 4 miles from the end.

“Yeah, come on, nearly there,” the young lady in a pink tracksuit lied at mile 9, ‘you’re all doing amazing!”

I flinched. Hopefully Mrs NBEJloL wouldn’t hear this terrible adverbial faux pas, otherwise she would have to stop and berate the enthusiastic media type.

By this time, a sub 2 hour finish was the best I could manage, struggling in at 1hour, 58 minutes and 43 seconds. I refused more offers of sugary sports drinks and jelly based confectionery. Instead, I spent the next 20 minutes getting all my internal organs back where they belonged and asking my legs very nicely if they would be kind enough to propel me back to the car to get a change of clothes.

I returned to the finish line, missing Mrs NBEJloL, who had gracefully completed with a royal wave of the hand and immediately changed into her customary high heels, I’d imagine. Instead, I cheered on all the other finishers and waited for Little Andrew.

“Fook that,” she exclaimed on finishing, “I’m not doing that again!”

Quite. I was in the same mood. I returned home, showered and languished on the sofa to watch the Champions’ League of Darts. If The Olympics can inspire people, so can darts, I

This could be me in the future...

This could be me in the future…

thought. Maybe I should take it up. I’m sure my nipples wouldn’t chafe. It wouldn’t make me walk like I’d shit myself. Perhaps the wild hairstyles would suit me, covering up or hiding the grey.

Then again, you couldn’t discuss the colour of your piss with your counterparts. Also, I hate wearing jewellery.

As I contemplated retirement, a Faceache friend posted her success at a 5K today.

“You should try Cheltenham Half Marathon,” I replied.

“I’ll do it next year,” she posted back, “but only if you do it with me…”

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I Sold My Soul to The National Trust

Hello Wordpretzels, it’s been a while. What with the way the world is at the moment, with everything in danger of being run by fuckwits, I’ve lost the plot when it comes to writing rubbish on my blogspot. But I’m back.

Last weekend, along with Lady Barton St Mary, The Marquess and Marchioness, we took off for a long weekend in Northumberland, with an overnight stay at cousin Cath and her husband Mark in Leeds. The journey was a long one: 3 hours to Leeds then another 3 hours to Northumberland. I realise that a lot of my American wordpretzels would wonder what all the fuss is about, since you’re happy to drive 200 miles for a haircut. But there we are, that’s Brits for you, anything over 50 miles is a major journey for us and involves stocking up on drinks and sandwiches.

Anyway, the whole experience was wonderful. We saw lots of stuff, starting with The Angel of the North, a huge piece of metal in the shape of an angel, situated on a piece of council waste ground off the motorway. This was followed by a trip to Cragside House, then Bamburgh Castle the following day and then Holy Island and Lindisfarne.

But I’m not going to give you a travelogue – rather something that happened to me that may have changed my life forever. I became a member of The National Trust.

It all happened so quickly. We arrived at Cragside House, the former home of Mr Armstrong, the first to have electricity in the early 1900s, which he produced with water wheels and a staff of many. I assume he needed it to power his television and wi-fi, which must have been amazing in those days.

Cragside House, once home to Mr Armstrong, who must have had the shining...

Cragside House, once home to Mr Armstrong, who must have had the shining…

Now, Cragside House is owned by The National Trust, so two willing NT workers were lurking at the entrance when we arrived. One of them approached our car.

“Good afternoon, modom, wilkom teou Caarsaid Heys,” he said. He was very, very posh. So posh, only Lady Barton St Mary could understand him.

“Air hair lair,” she replied, falling into her native language with ease.

“Hello Sir,” said the NT worker, acknowledging me. He’d obviously realised I didn’t speak posh, as he reverted to simple Hugh Grant when addressing me.

He returned to conversing with Lady BSM. After a short exchange, she turned to me.

“Do you want to join The National Trust?”

“Why?” I replied, incredulous.

“Well, we’ll be doing lots of visits this weekend, we could save some money.”

“Are we going to see lots of old houses that need renovating and are full of old furniture? Because I could do that by staying at home.”

Lady BSM gave me a look that showed utter disdain.

“I think it would be worth it,” she said emphatically, opening the car door and following the posh man into his National Trust shed. He interviewed her for 5 minutes in fluent posh before she appeared holding a brown box with the National Trust logo on it.

‘That’s it! We’re both members!” she stated excitedly, peeling the backing off the car sticker and adhering it to the windscreen.

The reality of it suddenly hit me. I was a member of The National Trust. The following day I was playing golf. Life as I knew it was over. I was only one step short of watching Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow on a Sunday night. It was time to grow a wispy beard, buy an oilskin cowboy hat, festoon myself with binoculars and a compass on a string and yomp around old houses assisted by two carbon hiking sticks.

National Trust - we're your friends now.

National Trust – we’re your friends now.

In a daze, we made our way to the restaurant, where I gazed upon my fellow National Trust members. Mainly grey, lots of dogs, but generally two factions. The oilskin/binocular wearer was one. The other was more surprising; a group of (mainly) men in loose fitting shirts, long flowing locks and little beards. I’m sure that at any time in a National Trust restaurant you could choose 4 characters, form a progressive rock band and record a concept album. As we all sat eating our broccoli and stilton soup, I distinctly heard somebody absent-mindedly whistling “Across The Universe”.

“We always stop at National Trust sites,” said The Marquess, “they do the best food.”

He’d also joined, using Lady BSM as an interpreter for posh NT worker.

I’m coming to terms with it now. There was something satisfying about marching through the turnstiles of other historical sites that weekend without paying a penny. At this rate, I may invest in a flask, a tartan car blanket and a small tin of travel sweets.

Whilst all this was going on, Miss Katherine and Master Johnny were at Bestival in The Isle of Wight. We hadn’t heard from them all weekend, but on the Monday, a message finally came through:

Have you really joined The National Trust?

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Olympic Cycling – Watch out for Kieron

Olympics – cycling. Lady BSM and I watched the Omnium(?) last night where cyclists seemed to have a race when they felt like it. I found it hard to believe that Mark Cavendish could ride his bicycle so very energetically while also calculating how many points the Danish and Italian riders were collecting on the seemingly random races in between the cruising around looking at each other. In the end the commentator got shouty (inevitably) and the Italian won, collapsing in a flood of tears, leaning on his mum and dad who were in the crowd. Mark Cavendish finished in silver medal position, which is good, but he seemed a little crestfallen.
Then, tonight, Master Johnny is watching another bike race. This one seems to involve a bloke called Kieron on a pizza delivery moped.

Kieron. Don't mess with him.

Kieron. Don’t mess with him.

Kieron must be a really hard bloke, because none of the cyclists, all finely tuned, testosterone fuelled athletes, are brave enough to overtake him. He holds up their race for ages before getting fed up and having a rest on the side. All the cyclists then have a good old burn up to decide who wins. Or something.
No doubt, somebody out there understands all of this. All I can say is I have no doubt that after the awards ceremony, Kieron is out the back flushing the cyclists’ heads down the toilet and nicking their medals.
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