When I first met Marvin (I’ve changed his name to protect the not so innocent) I did not think it was possible to meet anyone more miserable. He initially reminded me of Frasier from Dad's Army "We're doooommmed Mr Mannering, all dooooommmmed!". After he became ill though, it was clear that he was actually a reincarnation of Marvin the paranoid robot from "Hitchhikers Guide", brought to flesh (1),. When asked how he was feeling by Arianne his rather depressed mechanical reply was “I'm ok, I suppose. I'm lucky to have survived the day......!" To cap it all his legs, when cycling, spun around at the same speed whatever gear he was in. On uphill sections it was all very impressive, even if he did appear to be going backwards. However on the flat sections it just looked wrong, all activity with very little go....His demeanour improved slightly under the influence of the cocktail of various tablets and potions he managed to purloin from the other guests on the trip. (The Indian beggars could have done a lot worse than study his technique.) With four doctors, two nurses and a chemist, he was always going to get an interesting combination of drug to experiment with. Sadly, as the cocktail wore off his hangdog expression returned, along with the doom and gloom that is his excuse for a personality.
Clive in India
Clive was a wonderful travelling companion with excellent anecdotes about one-footed hamsters and an apparent love of playing with words that I love so much. His only faults being:-
• Loud snoring. I hasten to explain - before you jump to the wrong conclusion - that he was in the next room, not the same bed, yet still managed to keep me awake (I have been reliably informed that James could keep people three rooms down awake. Fortunately, I never got that close as he was banished to far flung rooms about the various hotels we stayed in. It would have been fascinating to pit Mrs B's legendary "sleep anywhere" ability against James's sleep destroying reputation. I think the result would have been too close to call).
• A healthy and possibly life-lengthening fear of risk, which while all very sensible, cuts an awful lot of fun out of life. If Clive gets reincarnated, it is 95% certain he will return as a possum. Might this just about explain his third fault?
• An incredible inability to identify men when they are dressed as women. Whilst everyone else in the group was squirming at the antics of the (quite frankly butch) lads in dresses, poor Clive found himself strangely attracted to these frankfurter and beans sporting lassies. He was most put out when he was informed that the girls had meat and two veg, initially going into denial and then sadness at being so thoroughly duped. Fortunately, Clive, being a respectable married man (I can say this with a certain amount of confidence, having worked out for myself that our "female" entertainers peed in a vertical position, if the fancy took them. I'm guessing on the respectable, but am more than happy to give Clive the benefit of the doubt) had not entered into any arrangements, financial or otherwise and was spared the ordeal of being introduced to any of the boy's respective parents. I guess none of us are infallible and we all have our blind-spots, mine being far too numerous to mention. Who are we to criticise if the poor possum believes that Dame Edna is his estranged Grandmother...?
It has already been established that James came with a Government snore warning, with the decibel count making the average Heavy Metal concert sound like a gentle mountain stream. What we had not been warned about was the musical ability of other parts of him. Small children were knocked from their feet and even M's hat (2), was seen to quiver under the force of James's Ripper, in the fort at Kumbalgargh. (I'm not sure my underwear would have withstood such an eruption. I can only assume James has invested in reinforced kecks). Even as the laughter echoed around the courtyard, we should be grateful that it occurred in the open and not in one of the rooms surrounding it, there would have been casualties for sure. As it is, Pakistan were forced to go to red alert, for fear of the missile launch that registered on their defence systems, while a small local village built a temple dedicated to a new thunder god. The fart of the holiday competition was over, with still over a week to go.
Krishna was just relieved to be shielded from the initial blast.
Neil was probably the fastest cyclist in the group and would have finished days ahead of everyone, if he had not had to stop for every feathered creature that fluttered across the horizon. Arianne on the other hand was not that keen on cycling but made up for that by having more changes of clothes during the two weeks than a complete Spice Girl world tour. The strangest thing was that Arianne’s bags were tiny, about a third of the size of Mrs B’s. I don’t know where she was storing her clothes, although I swear my bag got heavier each time Arianne purchased anything…
Now I thought that he was a really nice guy, but it turned out he has a real mean streak. About halfway through the holiday he maliciously mentioned Lemon Puff biscuits. Now, I have not had Lemon Puff biscuits for about 10 years, but once he had sown that seed I had a craving that could not be satisfied. How cruel is that? I managed to track down a packet once I got home to good old Blighty. I can report that I managed about three before wanting to throw up. At this point I suddenly remembered why I had not eaten Lemon Puff biscuits for ten years. I of course had to finish the packet in order to hide my tracks from Mrs B. Give him his due, Mark made up for his mean streak, by very generously sharing his cold with me.
Holly turned out to be the group’s photo girl, either being asked to pose in photos with a stream of well to do Indian families or, slightly more bizarrely, being requested to take photos of different Indian families and not with their cameras but with her own. Whenever the rest of us attempted to take photos of the local population, we would receive requests for tips, while Holly had volunteers throwing themselves at her. On reflection, we should have got Holly to charge them for being in her pictures and then the rest of us could have used the money to pay the other people demanding tips to be in ours. This would also have been an excellent way of redistributing wealth, kick starting the local economy and wiping out poverty in the areas that we visited.
if holly had charged all the locals who requested her to take their pictures…..
I myself had a number of similar photo opportunities but they all seemed to be from aging Asian gentlemen. I was not sure how to take it when some bloke tells me that he thinks that you are a very handsome gentleman. I felt like I was being groomed for the Bollywood sex industry. I declined all such offers as I suspected that they did not want me but my straw hat……..
Two episodes in and I’ve yet to even scratch the surface of the cycling, until next time….. (possibly)
(1) If there had been a vet in the group there is a good chance that he would have been put down, to save all the misery, both his and ours. I'd even picked out a nice spot in one of the gardens for him, but fortunately had not wasted time digging the hole.
The spot I picked out for Marvin was already used by some geezer called Gandhi, I’m sure he would not have minded sharing his space with Marv….
(2) You get to meet M in the next episode. Yes Clive, I’m still attempting to trick you all into subscribing for future BlackLOGS. Think of it as an episode of Eastenders without all that misery, or it would have been if Marvin had not been with us (Return to Text)
too miserable even for the worlds most depressive soap.