Thursday, 29 January 2009

Lunchtime Ramblings


It's quite a different experience being drunk in the middle of the day, especially when you are trying to be sensible 'cos you're actually still at work.

During a leaving lunch last week, not mine - yet, after two glasses of wine on an empty stomach (bad service, took ages for nosh to arrive!) I noticed the strangest things. I wrote it all in to my phone so I wouldn't forget, 'cos otherwise I knew I would, but that is probably another symptom of daytime weeblies, writing self notes in phone!

Anyway, in amongst the passwords and recipes for Cosmopolitan cocktails, here is the long version of what I wrote to myself....

Amazing and minute details jump out at you. In glowing technicolour. Such as the suddenly fascinating picture in various shades of glowing royal blue on the wall. The 10 foot square picture I didn't actually notice on the way in to the restaurant. It was really the most glorious picture I had ever seen. Full of spots. Of blue.

Details such as how similar the two people opposite me actually look. If you ignore the fact that they are male and female of wildly different ages and have different colour hair, eyes and skin. And different noses, chins and cheeks, they actually look awfully similar. They both have a head for a start.

It then became apparent at this point that I was going to miss the person who was leaving quite a lot. My dear friend. We have known each other for 5 years and I love the lady like a bosom buddy! This was quite a sobering thought, causing me, in my distress, to have another glass of wine.

I then realised that deep and philosphical ideas, that I really had to share with the whole table, were pouring in to my brain. It was like a waterfall of scintillation. I did share them, they were much too good to keep to myself, my dear friends should partake of the wisdom of the ages! They did, with varying degrees of stunned expressions. But three bottles of vino had been consumed by us all at this point, so we battled on. I wasn't however, in a competant enough frame of mind to write these down to myself in the phone and have consequently lost them! How awful! They were so good, I know. Origin of Man type of stuff. Why we are here. Why. Why? Damned if I can remember.

At this point I tottered off to the Ladies, undressing on the way, as is my wont when in my cups. Fortunately, no-one noticed! :o) I'm sure of that. Anyway, trousers off, trousers ON. Remembered to do them up while in the loo, nothing worse than falling over ones dacks on the way back to the table as they swish down to ground level, I know that! That was a long time ago though, but, lesson learned, lesson learned!

So, here we are at the sink, having also remembered to wash our hands. It was a trick tap. I know that for a fact. Because there is nothing you can do wrong with a tap. You turn them on and the water goes in a downward direction. Every time that is what happens. When you are sober. And when the sink is sensible and stays still, waiting for the water to hit it. Today, either the tap moved or the sink did. Whichever was the culprit, the end effect was the same. Wet Groin Syndrome. Soggy Knickers Disease. Rampant Stain On Crutch!!!! Sigh.

Back out to the table, tripping up on the way, at least not over half mast trousers, but still! What a stupid place to put a step and a fountain! Right outside the Ladies loo, like an obstacle course. I cleverly slalemed my way back to the table with no-one the wiser.

The conversation at the table was very fascinating at this point. Carrots. Vomit. Why? An age-old question with a definite answer! Our food was all but consumed at this point, which is just as well really. Apparently the reason there is always carrots (diced) in vomit is because of the action of stomach acid on protein. Hyrochloric acid + protein = small orange chunks! I didn't know that! Wow! Nurses are fascinating people with so much fascinating information in their noggins!

Moving swiftly, and without a break, on, to wedding cakes, to discover that the actual name for a profiterole tower is a Crockenbush! Except that is the original restaurant spelling, my friend Ms Google says that the actual spelling is Croquembouche. I want one of those :o) If only because of the wonderful spelling! Unfortunatley, there wasn't one on the menu, a serious oversight, if you ask me! I would have ordered a whole croquembouche by this point, so enthusiastic was I about the lovely word!

And there, Dear Reader, endeth the notes and therefore the lesson for the day. The lesson being? I hear you say. It's obvious surely? Read it again, you're sure to notice it this time!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

There you have cricket.


I have discovered Bill Bryson! Granted, he probably wasn't lost, but well met anyway. What a wonderfully entertaining author! Brilliant. I started off with "Notes from a small island" (which was basically a whingefest around the British Isles) and have now progressed to "Down Under". His book "Notes" is startlingly like a blog in print. In fact I thought it could be written by my brother or a very famous bloggist (blogster?) Flibbertigibbet, so wonderfully chatty and funny is it.

By the time I had got to the second book and have read this section reproduced for you below, I am a complete fan of Mr Bryson. This bit had me laughing out loud and when my very good friend the Goffman reads this, he will know why, exactly why, I was in tears of laughter when I read it.....

'Pilchard begins his long run in from short stump. He bowls and ... oh, he's out! Yes, he's got him. Longwilley is caught leg-before in middle slops by Grattan. Well, now what do you make of that Neville?'
'That's definitely one for the books, Bruce, I don't think I've seen offside medium slow fast pace bowling to match it since Baden-Powell took Rangachangabanga for a maiden ovary at Bangalore in 1948.'

I had stumbled into the surreal and rewarding world of cricket on the radio.

After years of patient study (and with cricket there can be no other kind) I have decided that there is nothing wrong with the game that the introduction of golf carts wouldn't fix in a hurry. It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavours look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. I don't wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as the players (more if they are moderately restless). It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.

Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it out to centre field: and that there, after a minute's pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt towards the pitchers mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of the man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to handle radioactive isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg. Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to try to waddle sixty feet with mattresses strapped to his legs he is under no formal compulsion to run; he may stand there all day, and, as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Then tea is called and everyone retires happily to a distant pavillion to fortify for the next seige. Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time the match concludes autumn has crept in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket....

.... Listening to cricket on the radio is like listening to two men sitting in a rowing boat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren't biting; it's like having a nap without losing consciousness. It actually helps to not know quite what's going on. In such a rareified world of contentment and inactivity, comprehension would become a distraction.

'So here comes Stovepipe to bowl on this glorious summer's afternoon at the MCG,' one of the commentators was saying now. 'I wonder if he'll chance an offside drop scone here or go for the quick legover. Stovepipe has an unusual delivery in that he actually leaves the grounds and starts his run just outside the Carlton & United Brewery at Kooyong.'
'That's right Clive. I haven't known anyone start his delivery that far back since Stopcock caught his sleeve on the reversing mirror of a number 11 bus during the third test at Brisbane in 1957 and ended up at Goondiwindi four days later owing to some frightful confusion over a changed timetable at Toowoomba Junction.'

After a very long silence while they absorbed this thought, and possibly stepped out to transact some small errands, they resumed with a leisurely discussion of the England fielding. Neasden, it appeared, was turning in a solid performance at square bowel, while Packet had been a stalwart in the dribbles, though even these exemplary performances paled when set beside the outstanding play of young Hugh Twain-Buttocks at middle nipple. The commentators were in calm agreement that they had not seen anyone caught behind with such panache since Tandoori took Rogan Josh for a stiffy at Vindaloo in '61. At last Stovepipe, having found his way over the railway line at Flinders Street - the footbridge was evidently closed for painting - returned to the stadium and bowled to Hasty, who deftly turned the ball away for a corner. This was repeated four times more over the next two hours and then one of the commentators pronounced: 'So as we break for a second luncheon, and with 11,200 balls remaining, Australia are 962 for two not half and England are four for a duck and hoping for rain.'