Friday, 15 March 2013

Breaking the seal

I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks, so time to break the seal, as it were. Though mentioning seals reminds me of one of my favourite jokes. It goes a little something like this:

An eskimo is out for a drive one day when his car breaks down and he is forced to call out the Alaskan AA. The eskimo stands in the howling wind waiting for the mechanic to arrive. When the mechanic reaches the broken car, he: sets to work, looking under the bonnet until he appears to have located the problem. He looks up at the eskimo and says, "You've blown a seal, mate", to which the eskimo hastily replies, "No, I haven't, that's just frost on my moustache".

A lot of my favourite jokes seem to involve northern Europeans; my absolute favourite is this one from Not The Nine O'Clock News (you've got to watch it; it doesn't work written down - it's only 23 seconds):

...and I'm also a big fan of "I wanted to go to Norway on my holidays, but I couldn't a-fjord it".

Though it doesn't beat my standard reply to anyone enquiring as to the state of our stock of eggs: "I think we've got an oeuf".

As you can see, the dark winter nights just fly by for Mrs Monmarduman. There's no evening that can't be improved by rolling out one of these classics. She too however has her book of standard lines, which if they were cars at a showroom would be labelled "pre-owned". There's too many to remember, but Morecambe & Wise's gag about them "not selling many ice creams going at that speed" whenever a vehicle with a siren goes past does spring to mind.

I mention all this to give an idea of what it's like when me and the better half (as we used to say in nostalgically-misogynistic times) spend a week in a car together, as we did last week in France. For the first time since we bought our modest Breton abode we ventured further south, and enjoyed, I'm delighted and not a little smug to mention, fantastic weather. Fantastic for March in France anyway - sunny and 21c much of the time. The Dordogne, the Gironde and the Charente all saw us trundling around in our epically under-powered hire car; 75 horsepowers it had, which sounds more than adequate for 2 people in a small car, but the measurement must have been based on the Shetland Pony scale of horses. The thing wasn't even that efficient as it's little engine struggled to propel us up any hill, 47 mpg, I do better than that in my barge of an estate car.

Although to be fair, there could have been a little more weight in than usual, as we seemed to stay in places that served only French breakfasts - croissants, butter, coffee, and in a nod to healthiness, homemade jam of many varieties, made to an ancient recipe of one part fruit to ten parts sugar. We should have taken some picky kids with us - by the end of the week they'd have been begging for some vegetables, as indeed I was. Mmmm, salad, said I on Saturday when I got one with my pizza, and I don't say that very often.

I don't seem to have said very much so far about running, cycling and the like. Well, that's because last week there wasn't any, and this week has been dominated by the turbo trainer, which means that all there is to report is my view of me in the mirror in front of me in the garage, and even that picture was blurred because I took my glasses off each time I was on the damn thing, in an attempt to make the experience less horribly real. Though I have been listening to some banging choons, which does help the boredom a bit. Oh yes, rewinding a bit, I do have a mirror in the garage so I can see myself on the trainer. It's to, erm, well, ensure that I can see my pedalling technique is up to scratch. Yes, definitely. And if you believe that, you'll believe other cyclists who tell you they shave their legs "so the skin heals better" if/when they fall off; bilge, it's because it enhances our muscle definition, we all know that's the real reason. Though for those of us who do shave it does mean we can comply with another of the Velominati's rules.

Enough ramble and waffle for this week; who knows there may be something about bicycle riding next time.

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