Thursday, July 14, 2005

Where Was I?

Yes, I have been unwell. Nothing serious, but a severe cold in the middle of a heatwave is not a pleasant thing. And, like an old banger, once I stop it takes a lot to get me started again. It can sometimes require men in boiler suits lying underneath me and poking around with screwdrivers and monkey wrenches and warning that spare parts for these models have been discontinued. Or so I might say if I were given to tediously extended metaphors.

Thank you for all your enquiries. Blogger has suddenly started emailing me comments again so they all arrived at once. I thought I had been silent for only a few days but time goes quickly when you're not enjoying yourself.

In return I offer you these red roses, captured with a blood-smeared digital camera a few minutes ago. I had been dead-heading them and they fought back, pricking my fingers. First prick I've had for ages, I muttered. Then, in my celebrated Gielgud impression, I essayed 'if you prick us, do we not bleed?' before I noticed the builders next door watching me over the fence and dived headfirst off the step ladder into the delphiniums.

For those of a horticultural bent, the rose is a climbing variety called Parkdirektor Riggers. The name suggests it is of Dutch provenance and therefore thrives on flat ground surrounded by dykes and with regular mulchings of rotted cannabis leaves. In what is technically known as 'companion planting' I put a clump of chives at its base but a small windmill might have been more successful.


Was there any humour to be found in the terrible events of last week? Probably not. And yet a man whose leg had been blown off told the woman who was comforting him that it was a good thing that London had got the 2012 Olympics as he could now be the first to enter the Paralympics. I thought that was the most remarkable story to emerge from the London bombings.

Humour is one of the most powerful enemies of fanaticism. Wasn't it Orwell who said that if British soldiers did the goosestep people in the streets would laugh at them?

I found one lighter moment in the hours of news coverage last Thursday. One of the rounds in Have I Got News For You? features a 'guest publication', a minority interest title that is improbable or boring, or both. In an example of life imitating art, at one of the press conferences after the bombings a question was put by a reporter from 'Municipal Engineering'.
While other reporters were trying to discover the number of fatalities, the person from Municipal Engineering was eager to discover the precise method being used to shore up the tube tunnels. One can only assume that the front page lead in their next edition will be 'Tube Tunnel Casings Suffer Serious Damage In Bomb Blasts'.

Actually, I did start to write a blog post last week but stopped because I thought the medication for my cold was causing hallucinations.
A dozen or so 12 year old girls in skimpy swimming costumes marched down the street accompanied by a loudspeaker van playing 'I Want To Have Sex On The Beach!'
Numerous middle-aged men were taking photographs and video footage of this spectacle.
The police were in attendance but no arrests were being made.
Then I remembered it was the Village Carnival.

Shortly afterwards, a 14 year old boy and girl drove past in what looked like an open-top wedding car, the girl clutching a bouquet. A cardboard sign announced that they were the 'Carnival King and Queen'.
One doesn't want to be unkind but the boy looked rather like Elvis in the final months of his life and was clearly no stranger to a family bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. This probably explained why the girl's expression suggested she was thawing a packet of frozen Turkey Twizzlers between her legs and why a thought bubble over her head said "Christ, what a minger!"
Still, it was a neat bit of gender and heterosexist role-playing, all topped off with the maraschino cherry of monarchism.

I'd no sooner swallowed another handful of Ibuprofen when a flat-bed lorry drove past carrying local cub scouts dressed as construction workers and wearing bright yellow hard hats.
Not a badge or a woggle in sight.
Was this some kind of visual pun on the phrase 'Village People'? Or had someone been rash enough to ask the Scout Leader if he had any ideas for fancy dress?
It later occurred to me that it might have been a tribute to Bob The Builder, which I understand is a children's programme sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry to try and remedy the chronic shortage of building workers. If so, I hope James, my esteemed fellow-blogger, gets some royalties from the Carnival Committee.
Seems a bit hard on the boys though. The little girls of the village get to march along screaming for sex on the beach while the young boys have to stand still in hard hats dreaming of reinforced concrete joists.
That Germaine Greer has a lot to answer for.


At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Rex said...

Very good to see you back, Willie.

At 6:38 PM, Blogger Tony said...

Get that legless man a blog, that's the spirit!

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Graham said...

Nice to have you back,your readers were getting rather worried by the silence.Summer colds can be a real pain,lots of honey and orange juice soon get you back on your feet.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger cello said...

Ginger root and lemon infusion is also very good.

Parkdirektor Riggers is very pretty (I love roses that open completely so you can see the stamens) but the name has always put me off. My warped imagination has managed to conjure up a very sadistic Afrikaans safari leader, with appalling taste in socks. Don't ask.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger cello said...

Oh, and James and patroclus send their very best wishes Willie. We're all delighted that you are back.

At 10:59 PM, Anonymous asta said...

Good to see you posting again.
I'm glad it was nothing more than a summer cold, although I count them as much worse than winter colds.

At 2:39 AM, Blogger Jonathan Blake said...

I read everything you have written, and it took me two days, and then you vanished, I was worried.

Sincerely pleased to see you back.

I'll write properly soon.


At 6:31 AM, Blogger Lost said...

Good to know that you're alright. Hope you feel better soon.

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Betty said...

Welcome back to the land of the almost living.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Thank you for all your kind comments.
There was a glaring typo in yesterday's post (now corrected) which makes me think I returned too soon.

cello, it is a dreadful name for a rose. But if you buy them on the internet there's a search function where you can specify colour, height, location and many other features and that rose was the best match.
It's certainly done well in just three years - eight feet high and blooms profusely.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Wyndham said...

Welcome back!

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Geoff said...

Best lunch hour of the week. And it's Friday, too. Don't, don't stop the carnival!

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Rex said...

Typo? I assumed it was a pun that I didn't get.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

My dear Rex, you surely know by now that my puns are about as cryptic and challenging as a Carry On script. The blog should probably be called Carry On Up Middle England.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger portuguesa nova said...

You're back! Glad you're feeling better, but no more disappearing on the same day as a bombing in your country's largest city, for the love of God.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

PN: sorry to worry you. I never go near London but you weren't to know that.
I shall arrange that, should I fall off my perch, a member of my family can post 'Lupin is dead. Secondhand computer for sale.'
Or, if just unwell, I'll try to post an announcement of the fact.


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