Flagging

What’s that all about then? Tacky St. George’s flags joyfully festoon each and every mode of transport in London. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much as an armchair supporter as the next man but this looks like Jingoism’s poster child dressed up as sporting patrotism. It’s like a pensioner with a mobile phone – there’s just something mildly unsettling about it, but I can’t put my finger on what it is.

I’ve always distrusted blind allegiance to any flag, so could never really get my head round our American cousin’s daily ritual of hoisting the Stars and Stripes in their back yard, and then throwing it a non ironic salute. Although on reflection, it may have been their right to arm bears and build scary munition dumps which accompany the flag waving that was truly terrifying.

And we’ll lose. Oh we might scrape into the quarter finals before something unsporting happens like a better team beating us or – worse still – penalties. If it’s the latter, the mass neurosis of fifty million nail biting little Englanders will surely transmit itself to our recently clothed emporer’s sporting heroes and they’ll blast the ball somewhere into row Z.

And then all the flags will magically disappear for another four years. Except for the sad few, grubby and frayed, whipping a mocking farewell to a never really achievable dream.

Maybe I’m just being a curmudgeon. And maybe it’s just football that ignites my inner grumpy because who could not be uplifted by the sight of our fantastically hungover cricket team parading a small tea urn through the streets of London last year? But then we’d beaten the Aussies. And I’d be the first man out with my flag, rattle and kiss’me’quick hat whenever that happens even if England had recently retained the international tiddywinks crown.

Or maybe I’m just a grumpy bugger resigned to the inevitiability of defeat and the long faces it will cast for weeks afterwards.

That’s probably it.

I admit it – I am a hit whore

Musing away, idly drunk on “Witches Nipple” (a complex fusion of runway cleaner and battery acid with a huge nose and an under-the-table-finish), I was forced to accept that ‘stuffing the hedgehog’ has become something more than a drunken pastime. That’s not terribly interesting but my attempts to insert rude words into every new post until – let’s say – eternity may be.

To this end, I’ve been spending some quality time in the virtual statistics department. Surrounded by electronic beards and electron toed sandals, I fired up the data miner thingy and immersed myself in this dusty and mostly untrodden bridleway of the wibblyweb.

Continue reading I admit it – I am a hit whore

The Light Fantastic

British Summer Time is here even if the great British Summer is not. From a riding perspective it’s a milestone eagerly anticipated by both those who have grown fat on a winter’s cycling hibernation and the rest of us who are just sick of the dark.

It had less than auspicious beginnings though. Setting off at 6am this morning it was both dark and wet. These conditions generally demand the big lurid rain jacket that has served me so well through the last three months. What I’d failed to factor in was the Spring temperatures testing and failing the previously unbothered breathable layer. Still sweaty limbs generally act as an informal seat reservation system so got to look at the upside.

Getting off the train this evening was akin to troglodytes emerging from their caves and blinking in the weak evening sunshine. That’s the great thing about the change of season; Spring brings light, double digit temps and gale force winds. The third is normally a fair price to pay for the first two but today showed all it’s fickleness by changing direction between my outward and return legs. Having struggled in against a thirty knotter, it was disappointing to find it’d swung 90 degrees and was playfully surging me into the path of oncoming traffic. Wind is like taxation – it gets you coming and going.

Not that I was going very fast losing the battle of the big breeze, but at least provided ample time to have a good look around. Like a man coming out of a coma, I was astonished at the level of detail brought into the light. Early spring buds juxtaposed against a backdrop of dormant vegetation, a long abandoned car “police aware” but still rotting it the ditch and half finished DIY projects. House building in Winter has to be up there with slamming ones wedding tackle in a desk drawer – pointless, painful and – on reflection – quite silly.

It was like welcoming an old friend back, slightly annoying but a huge improvement on the squatting Lords Of Darkness who’d overstayed their welcome by 3 months. Once summer arrives though, we’ll crack open a few beers together and toast the light fantastic.