Monday, 27 July 2009

The one where I attempt to win a number of Darwin awards

I think I have managed to post this, I guess if you are reading it I have been successful. Being in Sicily is an interesting experiance which I will detail in next weeks BlackLOG. Even the keyboard that I'm using is like from another planet, with it's strange key placements. Just finding access to the internet would take a book on it's own. Just take it from me that I did..... P.S. don't try and post a video link from Sicily unless you have about three days to spare.....

How to fail to win a Darwin award
Following a couple of weeks of sporting excess and, if I'm honest, spectacular failure, our much needed rest was put on hold as Mrs B organised a day trip for my birthday. For a number of years we had held a birthday BBQ but Mrs B felt enough was enough and decided something less stressful was in order. So out went the BBQ and in came a trip to Woburn Safari park with a side order of Zip wiring at Go Ape (an add-on to the Safari experience).

Mrs B managed to sign up 10 of our friends and arranged to meet up with everyone at the entrance of the Safari park. It worked reasonably well other than two friends running a little late. To be fair though, they were coming the furthest distance (Mrs B made me put that in, I put id down to them being Geographicaly challenged). We got hold of Hugh and his son Alec on their mobile and established that they were close by, so we decided to wait. Half an hour later and still no sign of them, Mrs B was now discovering that organising a group of people to be in one place at the same time was more stressful than any BBQ we have ever put together. Especially when everyone was on one ticket and they wouldn’t let us in until everyone was there. A bit of discussion with the staff at the main gate and we established that because we were Zip wiring we were at the wrong entrance anyway (it would be really helpful if it said that on the paperwork).

We relocated to the "Go ape" fast track area which turned out to be not fast track at all, as they decided that despite having all the paperwork, which stated that Mrs B had paid in full, their system could not cope, as it had been booked in three stages as people signed up at different times. Eventually they had to call the supervisor out who brought the company calculator and managed to add the three amounts together. There was only a slight delay as he decided to phone a friend, then ask the audience and finally used his last lifeline and went 50/50. Hugh and Alec were still circling the park but did not seem to be getting any closer to us. Once the supervisor promised to let in our geographically challenged friends and with Mrs B feeling guilty that everyone had been hanging around for over an hour, we decide to push on. I mean what could go wrong? We all had mobile phones after all. 

Hmmm have you ever tried getting a phone signal in Woburn safari park? Communicating would be easier for two blind people using smoke signals in dense fog.  Windows of communication seemed to be restricted to the more remote parts of the lion and tiger enclosures, as long as you were prepared to hang at least 95% of your body out of the window.  I'm sure the big cats deliberately sabotage any phone signals in order to entice the contents of the meals on wheels service out of the tin cans we travel in. It must be most frustrating for them watching all that pre-packaged food roll passed day after day.  Think how much more enjoyable their lives would become if they could get hold of a giant electronic can opener. Not to mention the variety of diet that would potentially become available to them.

Clarence the cross eyed lion : – Hey Leo; do you fancy Greek or Italian tonight…..?

Leo – “You know I think I could murder a Chinese.”
Has anyone seen the can opener, I fancy an Indian tonight....(Don't worry Anj we would have offered them an Italian snack first. Only if they had got through Vinnie would we have pushed you out. Harsh but fair!

Having given up hope of seeing Hugh and Alec we stopped for something to eat. All I can report is that it was reassuringly expensive but then there is an art to creating a sandwich from stale bread, a dried out slice of processed cheese and ham cut so thin that you could feed a whole slice to a bulimic without them feeling the need to purge. This was a fine example of the type of sandwich not seen since the hey days of British Rail catering, even down to managing to replicate the curling up at both ends. If only they had packaged it as an original Classic early 70's inter city special we could have got a fortune for it on Antiques Road show.  If this is any example of the food they are feeding to the animals I'm going to start a collection for that large tin opener........ I was going to say that McG would probably even be prepared to sacrifice some of his food for his larger brethren but anyone who knows the little porker would realise that would be about as likely as Gordon Brown taking responsibility for any of his mistakes. Despite my loathing of the man, I do feel for him a little bit. Following Teflon Tony was never going to be an easy task, especially if you end up being Gordon ‘the man who put the skid marks in the underpants of Britain’s economy’ Brown. I can honestly say I didn’t vote for the incompetent twat and apart from a few dumb Labour MPs, know one else did either. This is apparently the democracy we live in and wish to impose on other countries……

On the food front, fortunately, Mrs B had sorted out the dessert menu so at least it was edible if not nostalgic of puddings from yesteryear. To be honest I don’t think anyone actually got past the British Rail sandwiches, one of the best appetite suppressors known to man (it is no coincidence that the average weight of Britons has increased dramatically since the demise of British Rail and its culinary incompetence). So there is no historical record of any desserts they served. As if by magic the smell of dessert drew Hugh and Alec to us. Just in time to join us for the Zip wiring. Of the twelve of us, four had decided (through fear of heights or bad necks) they would not Go Ape, so the report is of how the remaining eight of us got on….

The Go Ape zip wiring course comprised of six main obstacles, including a couple of Tarzan swings into cargo nets, four zip wires and various obstacles strung between the tree tops.

Vinnie – Early on it was all Italian flair but a spectacular refusal at the “Air Rings of Fear” saw Vinnie take the easy root out and out of contention….

Ash – Considering Ash has a fear of heights or to be more accurate a fear of drops (perhaps he was dropped on his head as a child, which would explain a lot) he did extremely well. Lost marks due to his over-eagerness to hug trees for a little too longer than is considered acceptable in police society.

Anj – Not a bad performance and possibly got scream of the day (just edging out Hugh) on the larger of the Tarzan swings. Did really well to hold it together at the “Rings of fear” as she was the first to reach them after Vinnie ran off down the escape route….

Rory – Used his small and light frame to great effect, skipping around the course like a hamster on speed.

Alec – All teenage cool and ultra competitive with his dad (Hugh). Although not strictly speaking part of the course I’m docking him points for his parking in Woburn High Street.
Alec loses points for interesting parking.
Hugh takes partial credit as he felt passing
cars would cause less damage to the car than
passing prams.....

Hugh – A bit like his skiing, a number of crash landings on the Zip wires which he tried to cover up but never quite managed it. The tell tale bark chippings running up his back always being a giveaway

Mrs B – Very stylish as usual – not sure how she managed to get herself backwards on the Zip wires or more importantly back around the right way for perfect landings

Mr B – Oh dear, I may have got a bit over excited and carried away:-

Darwin attempt 1 – Managed to find myself upside down when attempting to land a big shape on the first Tarzan swing. This is a big no, no and the safety guide almost had kittens when she saw me. I’m still not sure how I managed it but since I did not fall out of the safety harness, no Darwin award.

Darwin attempt 2 – I was halfway across the “Rings of Fear” when I could hear some agitated mutterings from behind me. I noted that my friends waited until I was almost exactly half-way across before informing me that I had not connected my safety equipment properly. So no pressure then, a simple choice of three directions, forward, backwards or fifty feet down. Vinnie blames me for his refusal at the rings as he was the next up, while I feel I just demonstrated that you could do it ineptly and still survive…..

Darwin attempt 3 – The larger of the Tarzan swings – Having cocked up the first one, all be it with my own brand of style and panache, I was determined not to do it again. I was just about to launch myself when one of the safety guides came rushing towards me screaming “Noooooooooo!!!!” This time, while I had managed to connect all the safety wires, I had not connected them in the correct order. He patiently explained that my drop would have been a bit longer than expected and the ground would have had a rude awakening as I crashed into it. I was definitely left with the impression (better me than the ground I guess) that he was more worried about the damage I would have done to the undergrowth …….

For anyone worried about the future of mankind, after reading this and in truth any BlackLOG, there is no need. I took myself out of the gene pool years ago, when I decided not to breed. It’s a shame that a lot more people didn’t make the choice because if over population and starvation doesn’t destroy it, humanity will probably die an even more horrible death, as we slowly succumb to death by chav. Death throuh poor fashion and general Oik beviour is not a good way to go.....

Begrudgingly Rory probably won the Go-Ape of the day award. I question why speed and dexterity should count over lumbering ineptitude. In my defense it must be much more fun watching someone blundering around cluelessly rather than all proficient and correct with no chance of hurting themselves. Let’s face it, the reason so many people watch reality TV is not to see people at their best. If I survive much longer I could probably get my own reality TV show “Survival the BlackLOG way – what not to do but still manage to comeback mostly intact”……..


  1. Well done! I went to GoApe once, too. I am VERY scared of heights, and managed to do alright until a MASSIVE thunderstorm began. The people who worked there obviously forgot all of their "remain calm even in a crisis" training and stood on the ground SCREAMING at us "IGNORE THE ONE-AT-A-TIME RULE... JUST GET. DOWN. AS. FAST. AS. YOU. CAN!!!!"

  2. Well, this explains the fall of the British Empire even while leaving its rise inexplicable.

    By the way, what exactly is a "Zip wire?"

  3. But that's really unfair - you can't dock points for bad parking, what's that got to do with the zip wires?!?

  4. Blueskies2day Well done you, a number of the party failed to join in the Go Ape bit through fear of heights - or to be more accurate I think it is the fear of drops (I think I’m to dumb to worry about it). That must have been exciting watching the Go ape organisors actually going ape, how come you get all the fun.

  5. Douglas If what I have read is correct the British Empire came about by accident. The fall was just a matter of the rest of the world working out how incompetent we were....

    Zipwiring is where you attach yourself securely (or not) and launch yourself from the tops of trees - I will try to load a video of Mrs B in the next BlackLOG- it might be possible now we are home from Sicily.

  6. Imo who says life or even the BlackLOG was fair...

    P.S. Just got around to reading "Nation" by Terry Pratchett I didn't realise that you are a god!!!!

  7. P.S. Just got around to reading "Nation" by Terry Pratchett I didn't realise that you are a god!!!!

    Are you telling me there's a God character called Imo - Cool!


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