1) It should not be forgotten that Hitler was a vegetarian, which is hardly a great endorsement in my book…. Although he did introduce the world’s first smoking ban, proving that not even homicidal mass murderers are all bad ….. That said, I am currently struggling to find a hint of goodness in Stalin and Mother Teresa (That was Fred West’s evil twin sister wasn’t it?…..)
(2) I truly believe that our over-populated planet cannot be sustained organically. Which leaves you ethically responsible organic users, who no doubt pick up your organic produce in your 4x4 planet destroyer, in a bit of a dilemma. Are you happy to let millions starve so that you can pay extortionate amounts of money for your vegetables to be free range with each plant given an acre of it’s very own to grow in….?
The 4 hour journey had been a hoot, with Mrs B inexplicably staying awake for the whole 250 miles. Since I had expected to spend 249 of those miles effectively travelling solo, I had brought along company in the form of our two in-car satellite navigation devices (before you ask, we have one for each of our cars), to do a bit of compare and contrast. What can I say? It’s a man thing. In my defence, for this bit of experimentation, the last time we travelled to North Wales our friends Craig and Mala were using a similar satnav system as ours :-
I took off like a bat out of hell, in totally the wrong direction (yes there are many ways to leave Bishops Stortford - some better than others) and after about half an hour passed us at high speed, making our first meeting point about 20 minutes before us…. (At those speeds he had to fill up his car every third petrol station. Not so bad on long motorway stretches but can prove very expensive if you are in a very densely populated petrol station area.)
Just as we reached our destination we got a phone call –
Craig – “Do you want to meet up for lunch as we are getting hungry?”
Me – “Yeah sure, there is a little tea room that we are sitting outside that does sandwiches”
Craig – “Where exactly are you?”
Me – “At our destination, why? Where are you?”
Craig – Silence…..
Me - “Are you still there?”
Craig – “With you in about half an hour…”
It turned out that while our Sat Nav had taken us on a route directly across the moors, theirs had taken them the very long way around…..talk about the Hare and Tortoise
For the record, my experiment’s results – not a great deal of difference in the estimated time of arrival or distance to travel on either machine….How disappointing. I was hoping for a bit of fisticuffs between the two machines….
Our conversations on the journey included “What long distance lorry drivers would need to survive for weeks on end in their little cabs” – After a deep and psychological discussion we decided on :-
A little camp bed – (no, it doesn’t have to be pink but I’m not stopping them if that’s what the lorry driver decides on)
A microwave oven – (they need to heat up those canned beans somewhere, where else are they going to be able to get all that trapped wind from?)
A little TV – (They have to have something to do with their time to while away the hours between their mass killing sprees, visiting their multiple bigamistic collection of wives - extended over different parts of the country - and practicing to fart various national anthems without experiencing the dreaded follow-through …..)
And a yellow potty – (As a child Mrs B said that her parents would carry a little yellow potty in the car with them for emergencies (3) and the thought of some great big hairy trucker’s arse hanging over the sides of it had us cracking up…. )
(3) I bet my dad had wished he had thought about taking a potty with us for moderately long journeys. On one memorable expedition I wrote off a favourite pair of his hush puppies when he decided we were not going to stop for anything.
I suspect this peculiar parental behaviour was down to the slow speed of 1970s motor vehicles (Acceleration of 0-25mph in a bracing 25 minutes, so any unscheduled stops could potentially add days to a journey) and the fact that kids now get to travel with an entire entertainment package (4) - enough to make your average hairy-arsed trucker green with envy. If I had had this option as a kid you would never have got me out of the back of the car - even when my parents reached the hospital to peal my sister and I off of those lethal black plastic seats (5) that 70’s British cars specialised in, to get us treated for 2nd degree burns. The seats were bad enough in winter, but forcing your kids to sit on them in summer while making them wear shorts and skirts (6) would normally count as child abuse of the highest order. In the 70’s it was regarded as character building and any scarring left by the branding on the back of the legs was seen as a badge of honour…..
(4) When I was a kid we had to make up our own entertainment which included unforgettable (if only - after years of therapy they still haunt me) games, such as:
How far? (this was mainly for your parents’ pleasure) – as in how far could they take you without having to stop for a wee?
I spy - but on strict instruction that the letter P and any excessive “ssss” sounds were strictly verboten as it tended to have a detrimental effect on the “how far” game
A pig has a ring in its nose
a) We reached our destination
Are we nearly there yet?
* A little known fact, I am the 79th version of myself – I was a very annoying child…..
(5) light bulb moment of realisation, so that was why they had those seats - easy clean plastic in case they misjudged the distance during a tense game of “How Far”….
(6) For the record and avoidance of any doubt, my sister was wearing the skirts. The only time I have worn a skirt was my wedding, as I didn’t want to wear a lame old wedding suit and so fell back on my Scottish ancestry. Besides Mrs B had already baggsied the nice white dress.
To a bottomless and wonderfully meaningless discussion on the benefits of sat navs over map books
Mrs B was defending her map book, which normally sits on her lap, acting like a blanket suffering severe rigor mortis.
While I was defending my, not one but two Sat navs, which normally sit on the dashboard being ignored because I’m male and don’t take instructions very well, even when repeated in stereo….
I did experiment with a Yoda voice for a while
“Turn left here you will”
“Turn right and avoid the dark side”
But even these instructions didn’t work on me
Mrs B put forward the argument that she liked to see the bigger picture
Me – “so where are we on the map now?”
Mrs B – “I don’t know I wasn’t tracking the journey”
“You can’t even see Birmingham on the sat nav”
Me – Pressing the zoom out function – “look it’s there”
seeing Mrs B was on a different page
“where is it on your map?”
Mrs B – glancing down and looking a bit puzzled –“Oh my god, I’ve lost Birmingham”
Me – “How can you lose Britain’s second city?”
Mrs B – looking a bit downcast “I’m sure it was there a moment ago…”
Shortly afterwards Mrs B tried again
Mrs B - “so what is the name of that mountain ahead of us?”
Me - “I don’t know the sat nav only gives roads, towns and rivers”
Mrs B - “Aha! See? Map books are much better”
Me - “OK, clever clogs what is it called?”
Mrs B - “ Hang on a second I’ll just consult my map book….”
Mrs B - “Aaah…………..”
Me - “Well?”
Mrs B - “The map book doesn’t seem to name mountains….”
Me - “Have you found Birmingham yet?”
Mrs B - “You don’t half prattle on…”
here comes a page……
any day now and you might get the second word…
Oh there is a picture on the page…
you had better come back next month…..
While waiting for the internet the rest of the week was packed with:
Cooking contests – an honourable draw, Mrs B and I would have won except Mrs B didn’t like her own dessert creation, which was a shame as everyone else did…
Gorge walking – which turned out a bit more hard core then we expected, I certainly didn’t imagine we would be tied to ropes and chucked over a waterfall
High ropes – the chance to pay good money to scare yourself silly
Long walks - interspersed by sheep chasing – Alfie proved to be not quite as well behaved as he had promised to be
Fetch - which actually turned into more of a game of tug of stick – Alfie preferring to play tug than chase.
Crabbing – No not from the back of the car by the girls but from a pier in yet another unpronounceable Welsh town…
Llawrygyln – Where we were staying – comprising sheep, sheep and gates to get you back to the real world – 10 minutes of driving before you even reach the resemblance of a road
Cwrt-newyder – I challenge anyone to attempt that without being high on drugs or 10 pints into a very heavy drinking session….
Y-Drenewydd - Newtown in English. Which, according to the sign as you entered the town …rather slowly (7) ….has been a new town since 1321
(7) Most strange, in that 99% of Wales appears to be almost empty of traffic, with long winding roads working their way through the valleys and just made for speeding (8) – Yet Newtown (new since 1321, that cracks me up every time) was like the centre of London during rush hour on the busiest day of the year….
(8) The Welsh appear to have swapped speed cameras for sheep – I was racing home hoping to get to see The Apprentice – the satnav started estimating that we would be 10 minutes late, but through a combination of skill, speed and a sleeping Mrs B I managed to turn it around and was on course to make it when I came across a bunch of sheep – 15 minutes of waiting for them to stop milling about and the Welsh speed trap had done its job…..
I also discovered that driving at fun speeds, on the empty Welsh roads with two passengers in the back seat (Mrs B & Kirsty) makes for a stressful experience with threats of either physical violence or that their stomach contents would be introduced to the back of my neck.
“Neck - meet Stomach Contents”
“Stomach contents - meet the back of my neck”
It is a great inducement to moderate your speed….
Show me the sunny
KW Produced so far – 1810
KW generated in the last 2 weeks – 266
This has earned us approximately – £905
Record of the week
Sheep Go to Heaven and Frank Sinatra (Live) by Cake - A great song for Wales ifa little harsh on Goats - not sure what Frank Sinatra was doing there, perhaps he has been watching one too many Woody Allen Films....
Becoming more like Alfie by The Divine Comedy - He certainly taught me a thing or two about hanging onto a lost cause....
Traffic by Stereophonics - In honour of Y-Drenewydd proving that Wales is not just a backwater it has traffic it's own traffic issues...
These are like clouds people see different things -
This could be one of those fancy shmancy clothes catalogues
shots. Just as well I didn’t make it into my own picture
it would have totally ruined the illusion….
|1 of 2|
"Are You Looking at me?"
A Welsh Seagull with attitude
2 of 2
"A Seagull with Altitude...."
|You have to admire my determination|
I was not letting go for anything...
|Yes he is undeniably crabby but not as |
loud as the girls in the back of the car...
Sword in the Stone - The Welsh attempt to grab
a piece of the Arthur legend...