Monthly Archives: June 2007

Quick, stand on one leg

I was logging into blogger yesterday when I discovered a strange set of number combinations. The days in the year, 333 and 666.*

I mentioned this to Adrian (who was sitting beside me) and he said, “quick, stand on one leg”.

It’s important to point out that Adrian is a cricketer. And in the world of cricket they have some very strange customs. And one of them is known as the Nelson. If the score is three digits and all of those digits are the same then you have what is known as a Nelson. And the umpires have to stand on one leg to ward off bad luck. No really.

Supposedly it started off with 111 being bad luck because it symbolised the three sumps without bails, aka a wicket being taken. But the name comes from the idea that Lord Nelson lost an eye, an arm and a leg. But actually Nelson never lost his leg so the name is a bit silly really (well the whole thing is pretty silly so maybe that’s how the name thing snuck past – everyone was watching the umpire standing on one leg).

Although the practice had been carried out pretty widely in the upper echelons of cricket for some time it wasn’t really known widely because the umpires fearing the silliness only raised their foot a little bit. However umpire David Shepherd was far more flamboyant with his leg raising and so simultaneously raised the profile of the Nelson. And now everybody is at it.

The Cricketer magazine decided once and for all discover if there was any truth in the rumour and went back through the records to see if Nelsons were actually unlucky. It turned out to be false. In fact the score you’re most likely to get out on is 0 – a duck. Of course the problem the Cricketer has is that the official records presumably don’t indicate whether the umpire raised a leg or not during play. As this wards off the bad luck these instances shouldn’t be included in the stats. But presumably they were – bad statistics in my opinion.

And so I’ve had to stand on one leg ever since I discovered it yesterday. Luckily this post takes me over the edge.

*You may be wondering why there are 365 gamboling posts now and 555 the other week. There are 190 articles which are on gamboling but aren’t in blogger. They’re in the Older Archive section there on the left.

A man walks into a doctors office

And he says to the doctor, “Doc, I hurt all over.”

He touches his leg, and he winces.

He touches his face, and he winces.

He touches his stomach, and he winces.

The doctor says, “you’ve got a broken finger”.


I can feel it. The poison. It’s cold and sharp and I can feel it slucing around my brain. As the icy liquid curls round the inside of my skull I can feel thoughts being taken away from me. Stolen. Gone. I move my head up and as I do more function escapes. The poison dripping down, edging down to my spine. I open one eye and look at my poisoner. As I look first I see a syringe and a man. But after a second it all becomes shapes. No edges no definition. No memory of what an edge is. No memory at all. For a brief second everything in my head is pure light.

A wonderful Father’s day

I had my dad, Ellen, my brother, and Nick over for Father’s day. We drank beer and wine and watched the grand prix.

Here’s my impression of the event…

The ultimate English Breakfast

The ultimate English Breakfast is a difficult thing to do right. I had an English breakfast this morning, and on the menu it didn’t mention bacon. So I ended up having to ask for the full English Breakfast with Bacon. It turned out that it was just a misprint. But it’s a problem that exists. At motorway service stations they have a full English breakfast which actually has 2 sausages but only one rasher of bacon. Surely you want to have that the other way round. Surely you must!

Sausages are lovely. And good bacon is fantastic but surely everyone must agree that there is move variation between good sausages than there is between good and bad bacon? Surely everyone must see that. And if you don’t see that then you haven’t had a Ludlow Sausage (or a home-made sausage). Great bacon tastes better than okay bacon (is there bad bacon?) but it’s a matter of a slight improvement. Lovely if you can get it, but not the be all and end all. Sadly most sausages are pretty terrible. It’s only when you have a proper sausage from an independent butcher or actually Sainsburys. Taste the Difference are very good when you suddenly realise the difference. The difference is such that you automatically vow never to have a bad sausage again. Bad sausages are such horrible things, whereas poor bacon is there or thereabouts. That’s why bacon is more important than sausage in the Ultimate English Breakfast. It’s simply more consistent.

Snakebite McMuffin – Part 2

In a surprise twist, Part 2 of this story has been written by Nick. I hope to get a third outsider to write part 3. If you fancy giving it a go, then either drop me an e-mail or leave me a comment on this post. In exchange for Nick writing part 2 of this, I will be writing a post for Nick’s Stranded Cinema which should hopefully be appearing today and tomorrow, I’ll post the link in the comments here. But for now, on with the story.

[This is part 2 of the 4 part story, Snakebite McMuffin. Before reading part 2 you may want to check out Part 1.]

‘Oh, your father trusted me, Miss Trousers. But that’s exactly why he never hired me. If you trust someone, it makes you vulnerable.’

Snakebite could see he now held the upper-hand, although neither of them were playing cards. She didn’t know the true nature of his relationship with her father, the old bastard. Perhaps it would be better to keep that to himself. After all, where had she come from? Trouser had never mentioned her to Snakebite before, only that she went to school ‘out of town’, and there were rumours she wasn’t even his daughter.

‘Even so, Mr McMuffin, he never hired you. But I want to. Will you take the case?’

He paused, and reached towards the draw where he knew his bottle was waiting for him. But no, that could wait. He needed a clear head. And besides, if he had a drop, he’d have to offer her one. His stuff was too hard to get hold of to go dishing it out to some dame, even if she was heir to the Trouser millions.

‘What does the case involve?’

She frowned and shook her head, taking her gloves off and sitting seductively on the corner of the desk in front of him.

‘Now, detective, I read on your door the motto of this agency: No questions. Only answers.’

‘With so much money involved, someone’s gonna ask questions. It might as well be me. If I so much as smell a suit, I’m not interested.’

‘Trust me, there’ll be no lawyers involved. Now, will you take it?’

She reached her hand out across the desk to be shook, confirming the deal. Snakebite let her hang it there for as long as possible. He looked her in the eyes. Damn she had pretty eyes, just like her mother. He turned away and stared at the clock on the wall. It had stopped ticking a long time ago, almost three years now. The glass was cracked. The small hand was on 5 and the long hand rested just after 8. Her hand was starting to waver, somewhere between 3 and 4. He took it in his gently.

‘I’m not interested.’

She withdrew her hand sharply.

‘Now I’d heard you were eccentric, Mr McMuffin. But this case, I don’t need to remind you, could help you pay off a lot of your debts.’

‘I don’t have money problems’ he said, smiling to himself ‘just a lot of friends who always make me buy the drinks’.

‘Then perhaps I can interest you in something else.’ She leant over the desk, arching her back, and whispered sensually in his ear: ‘Something your friends can’t give you.’

A bead of sweat ran down his forehead and into his eyes. He blinked, but remained still. It was hot. He really should get the air-conditioning fixed in his office. ‘What air-conditioning?’ his secretary had asked on her first day there. ‘The windows’ he replied.

‘I’m still not interested. The stakes are too high, and I don’t have a ladder.’

She frowned and moved away, slowly stood up, straightened her skirt and turned her back to him.

‘Very well, detective. I hoped it wouldn’t come to this.’

Snakebite knew what was coming. He slowly reached his hand out to the draw on the other side of his desk and began pulling it open.

‘I thought you’d be more intelligent’ she said, opening her handbag and taking something slowly out of it. ‘I’m disappointed in you.’ She turned back suddenly, and Snakebite found himself staring at the barrel of a gun. ‘Now, will you take my case?’ she asked. ‘Or will you take a bullet?’

Snakebite took a deep breath. He had his draw fully open by now but didn’t want to make any sudden moves and startle her. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the shadow of a large man outside his door. He heard a car pull up on the street below. He looked her up and down. She had a great figure, and her clothes accentuated it perfectly.

He said, slowly, staring her in the eyes: ‘That’s a nice skirt, Miss Trousers.’

[What will Snakebite do? Will she shoot him? What’s he got in his desk? Who’s outside his door? And can he fix the air-conditioning in his office?]

The pain train

There were two major train related grievences that I managed to miss off of my previous rant on the matter. Both of them relate to MP3 players.

The first is obviously the tinny racket that seems to travel an incredible distance. I’m actually writing this while standing on a train platform. Nobody else is on my platform (maybe I smell, or am on the wrong platform)* and I can actually hear this guy’s player from the other platform. That’s crazy. It’s as bad as second hand smoking.

The second is a subset of these loud MP3 listeners and it’s people who are listening to their music so loud that they can’t hear that their phone is ringing. Now that’s annoying.

A solution suddenly occured to me the other day. It was inspired by something Derrin Brown said. He was talking about how people don’t like others to come and sit next to them on the train. Most people look up and scowl if they want to discourage others from sitting next to them. Derrin suggested that the best way to discourage somebody was to look at them with a nice big welcoming smile and then gently stroke the seat they’re aiming at. They’ll soon get the idea.

This idea works on a similar basis. You start gently rocking in time to the music the other person is listening too, and then when the chorus kicks in start mouthing along to the words. They’ll soon realise you can hear all and turn it down. You can even add a fake grumpy look at the end to signify that you’re upset that they’ve turned their music down. I’m sure it’d work.

*Note I was actually fine. There must be less demand for my direction at this time in the morning.

Two lions are walking down the aisle of a supermarket

One turns to the other and says, “quiet in her today isn’t it”.


They are lying on the grass. The two of them. Her in a denim skirt, him in tan shorts. They each have a plastic cup, half filled with rapidly warming beer. The odd combination of deep base vibrating you but being unable to hear the melody that you only get at a festival is washing over the whole area. But they are kissing and don’t notice.

They roll over each other and giggle. Everything seems possible. They are away from their family away together for the first time. For the first time, they don’t feel different than adults. But the adults around them feel different. They look on bored and cynical. As bored and cynical as they usually are, but for a second when they first see the two of them carrying on they think about what they’ve lost by becoming old. And then they snap back and say something like, “get a room”.

The two of them don’t notice. They feel adult without feeling like adults and for one day in the sunshine it’s the greatest feeling in the world.