18: Ups And Downs In The Saddle

The Pub At The Top Of The Hill - Calley Arms

After my first puncture messing up the first bike ride with the Pink Lady, the subsequent rides was somewhat more successful.

To be honest, it could not have been much worse!

We decided, correction, The Pink Lady, decided we would take a ride out to a gardening centre. That worried me a little. It was not so much the bike ride itself, but the memory which flashed through to Fitrambler brain; the Pink lady had taken a look at the Fitrambler garden recently – commonly known as the Fitrambler jungle.

Some have suggested I put a sign up at the back saying:

‘Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here!’

Legend has it Boy Scouts have been known to get lost in there on bob a job week! Of course, as with all legends, it starts with something simple and then is blown out of all proportion – I once found what looked like a boy scout cap…

Anyway, back to the bike ride…

‘It’s a lovely day and I need a few bits and pieces,’ said she.

‘You need a few bits and pieces.’ Said I.

‘Yes, and it’ll be a nice bike ride,’ the Pink Lady.

‘So, we’re going out for a bike ride to a gardening centre to get things for your garden, purely for yours?’ I repeated.

‘Something wrong with your ears, Fitrambler, that’s what I said.’

‘No, no, not at all. Absolutely, damn good idea.’

I was alright with that, long as she had not got it into her head to encourage me to spend money on the Fitrambler jungle. One likes to know the parameters once is working to. Besides, spending good money on the damn garden is bad enough but the bloody work that leads to. Well…

‘I’ve set our dinner going so that it’ll be ready when we get back…’

On hearing that the saliva glands began to work overtime. I tried to think of a way I could forgo the bike right and get to the dinner bit very quickly…

‘Are you ready, Freddie?’ she asked, and I straight away knew I would not get away with any excuse not to go on the bike ride, not if I wanted to stuff the old chops later.

Not that I did not want to go on the bike ride, but the thought of a Pink Lady dinner was distracting me somewhat!

Anyway, bikes out and helmets on, we were off, with, as usual, the Pink Lady leading the way.

What I did not realise was that we were not taking a direct route! This would be something which would become common over time, me confusing what was exactly happening…

We cycled to Old Town, from Toothill via the old railway line, through the back of Coate Water and up towards Hodson.

I sort of recognised the route or at least have travelled parts of it before in a car. How the direction fitted in with our journey to the Garden Centre I did not know. But these were early days of bike rides with The Pink Lady and I trusted her to lead the way.

To be honest, my sense of direction is not always perfect. Unless there’s a decent and sensible landmark. You know the sort of thing, pub, book shop, or a good place for a scoff, then I have a little difficulty. Also, in the last twenty years I had mainly gone places in cars…

What I should have remembered, though, was there’s a bloody great hill Hodson way. But as I said, only ever done the journey in a car and usually hills are not all that much of a problem in a car.

What I did remember was there were at least half a dozen times when I drank in there. First time when I got my first car and drove out there with Neatentidy, and then several times with Blameworthy. I think it was one visit with Blameworthy when I got one of my few 180’s at darts. History in the making.

Anyway, we obviously start at the bottom and as things go on, the Pink Lady gets further and further ahead and I start to slow down. Let’s face it, the Pink Lady has been cycling most of her life – almost came out of the womb with a bike attached. Me, I gave up around sixteen and only began again at 49. I just did not have her level of fitness.

Since I bought the new bike, I only used a few gears, having previously been used to around three gears on my bikes. On this hill I found myself getting right down to the lowest gear and still bloody struggling.

It got to a point where I felt I was going sideways, quite dangerous with the occasional oncoming car. It’s that sudden look of fear as they come round the corner and you are almost on their bonnet; a look that says ‘I think I just crapped myself!’

Fortunately, from my point of view, the sight of the oncoming car gave me a momentary burst of adrenalin and I managed to get over to my side of the road before having an impromptu flying lesson!

Unfortunately, this sudden energy burst did not last and I ended up getting off and walking, which was not much easier as most of my reserves of energy had been used trying to cycle up the bloody hill.

By this time my lungs were pounding like set of electric bellows which were on overload!

Finally, and what to me seemed hours later, but was probably only ten minutes later, I am approaching the top and there’s the Pink Lady leaning on her bike looking quite relaxed and smiling.

Now I am sure that the smiling was just a sign of friendliness but how I felt at that precise moment, combined with what I had just gone through, made me a tad suspicious that she was being smug.

When I eventually found enough breath to be able to speak, I explained:

‘Had..to..get..off..to..get..up..the..hill, couldn’t…peddle…any further.’

The Pink Lady asked: ‘Why didn’t you use the gears?’

I paused, fighting the urge to say: ‘because I didn’t have any ****ing gears left!’

After all, it was not her fault I was in the state I was, well, not entirely, anyway. Instead I looked across at the pub.

‘Been in there,’ I changed the subject, still sounding like a heavy breather on an obscene telephone call.

‘Do you want to go in.’

‘No. Best not.’

It was tempting, so very tempting but there were several reasons for my sudden bout of willpower. The first was that if I got inside she would have to drag me back out again. After what I just went through to get up the hill my enthusiasm for cycling had taken something of a bruising.

Secondly, I did not have enough money on me to pay for a round; or even just one for me!

I got about five minutes rest before we were off again and I was trying to keep up with the Pink Lady again.

Beautiful To Look At, A Long Way To Go!

That day I got to see the Pink Lady’s jean-covered arse more than her face as I followed it through the country roads. There are many worse things in life but it would have been nice to have narrowed the gap to less that three hundred yards!

But it was a lovely day; impending heart attack to one side.

Luckily, it was only a short upward ascension before we travelled down a very steep hill. This was a hill leading into more familiar territory, Wroughton.

Ah, good old Blameworthy and I walked to that village many a time in those days, trying to slate our thirst with beer…

I just caught the Pink Lady turn left at the end from my vast distance behind her. I did the same.

If nothing else, the ride down the hill at speed rested me a little and dried the sweat which previously was pouring out of every pore, so to speak.

This hill, although a lot easier, was a little frightening. I was going at a hell of a rate of knots and relying heavily of the breaks on the bike.

A few minutes later we were going up another hill before going off in the general direction of where the Pink Lady lived. A puzzle as I thought we were heading to the Garden Centre; wherever that was?

As it turned out we had gone in a wide circle in order to go away from the garden centre then curve back round to be back on track. It was at this point I should have begun to get a little more inquisitive, shall we say, about what routes we were taking; something I would attempt in future.

There were several more hills (not on the scale of the Hodson one, thankfully) before we finally arrive at the Garden Centre and the Pink Lady decides it might be an idea to have a cup of tea or coffee?

A cup? The distance I travelled and the effort I put in I wanted a bucket of coffee!

My keenest on cycling was depreciated a little on this first ride, especially the hill bit. I did try an tell myself I needed to get my fitness up a lot more and I would sail up the hills – or at least that was the opinion of the Pink Lady!

Hmm?

That hill, the one at Hodson, was not going to be the last one or indeed the last time I would have to try and cycle up it.

A week or so later we took a ride out towards the Village in at the top of Liddington. We began the journey from the Pink Lady’s house, where she was working on the meal we would have on our return. I can think of no better incentive for a bike ride than the prospect of a Pink Lady cooked meal at the end of it…

Fitrambler in paradise!

This time it felt a lot more civilized as I seemed better prepared for the hills; to be honest, I do not think they were any where as bad or twisty. I think it was the twisty-thing that did for me on the Hodson hill. There’s no real way to take a run at (or should that be a ride at it?) and get up a bit of speed. Whereas, going to Liddington that option was there.

The Pink Lady still remained ahead for the most part but I consoled myself with the fact I was being gentlemanly; you know, ladies first and all that.

We dropped off at the Village Inn at Liddington but the place was closed, which was bad news. Not happy with that at all, really bad form.

How Dare The Pub Not Be Open - The Village Inn.

So after a five or ten minute rest, where, for a few minutes of that rest, it spotted a little with rain, we moved on. Within half a mile the sun peeped out from behind the clouds.

Onwards we went, to our next port of call which was Wanborough. This time our (my) luck was in and the Calley Arms was open.

Time for a snifter!

Once we double locked our bikes up in the car park, we moved round to the front entrance. Never been much of one for the back entrance, not in my nature…

Up against the wall was an old rusting bike which the Pink Lady took a liking to. Out came the phone and she took a picture of it. I was not quite sure what the interest was but I was getting a little impatient for my ale.
I mean, be fair, the bike had been rotting away there for years, no reason why she could not have taken the photo on the way out? Still, that’s women for you. What they want you have to do now, what you want can wait a while!

Not A Bad Drop Of Beer And Much Needed - The Other Calley Arms.

Anyway, once inside I managed to get away with two drinks before we were on our way. To be honest, I did not want too many because of the journey home. Although a fine and sunny day, it was quite windy on some of the country roads.

Well, too many beers and there’s a pressing need to drain the old python; and having a crafty pee near a bush or something with a wind that might change direction at any minute; bit risky. It’s bad as a wet fart in white trousers! Not good for the image!

If I remember correctly, that ride was about 25 miles, which I did not discover until we got back to the Pink Lady’s house. She has a Speedo-come milometer on her bike; oddly enough in pink.

Made me feel rather good, cycling all that way. Of course what made me feel far, far better was sitting down to the Sunday roast the Pink Lady had cooked…

The rides during that Summer often began from the Pink Lady’s house or the canal bridge. And quite a few ended with dinner or lunch (and a pudding, no less) at the Pink Lady residence…

A Fitrambler cannot ask for more in life…well this one can’t!

114 comments on “18: Ups And Downs In The Saddle

  1. You didn’t intend it as a joke Fitters. That’s what made it so funny. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to say ‘ Yes it, is rather expensive, but one ought to try these things at least once’ No straight man in the world could have fed me the line so well.

  2. Oh and the bit about Jack Shepherd refusing to make another Wycliffe series without Jimmy Yuill. Not intended to make you like him Gloomers, me ol’ Marmite Pot, just a little bit of trivia I thought I’d pass on….

  3. I do remember the remark about Venison and Deer; though I’m not sure I intended it to be a joke…

    Of course there was that incident in the first few months Blameworthy and I worked together. I was talking about a dance routine and blokes doing it with those deckchair multi-striped jackets on waving straw bloaters in their heads.

    Blameworthy quite rightly pointed out that it was straw boaters. Why would they be wearing straw fish on their heads?

  4. Back on the subject of old jokes about crocodiles: Fitrambler may not remember this, but your comment about venison brought it flooding back to me. Many years ago we went to the Swan at Inkpen, near Hungerford, for a swift half. While Fitters was getting his round in, I glanced at the menu on the chalkboard and said ‘Blimey, they serve venison in here’ and he actually replied ‘That’s deer, isn’t it?’

    I won’t tell you how expensive it was, because 30 years later, it won’t seem very dear at all, and that would spoil the joke, but you get the idea.

  5. But, you are a good fellow, GloomLaden; I had no need to contradict your comment. I also think you would have made an excellent Malmsey yourself. The ability to find your way in and out of a police station was never a requirement of the role. I’d be willing to make my acting debut as your sidekick. You already treat me like Sewidge when we’re in the pub together. I did once play King Herod in the school play when I was eight years old, after all.

  6. Firstly, Blameworthy, I’ll have you know I have been to Cornwall. It was in 1980 but I doubt much has changed. Seconly, I noticed when I wasn’t at the Brewhouse yesterday, they have grouse on the menu. It’s another of the foods the idea of which is almost certainly better than the reality, like venison or those green minty Cornetto ice creams. Thirdly, I’m surprise you allowed my earlier claim to be a good fellow to pass without contradiction. Fourthly, this is a momentous week: Fitrambler’s customarily eidetic memory has been proved to have its limits with his mistaking my dislike of Jack Shepherd for praise. Finally, something amusing I heard at the barbers:
    Barber: Working at the moment then, sir?
    Customer: Yeah, I’ve got work coming out of my ears at the moment.
    Barber: (insoucient voice) I think you’ll find that’s hair, sir.
    I suppose that’s not really funny except that it did actually happen.

  7. I called in at the new Weighbridge Brewery pub/restaurant yesterday to see what sort of damage they had done to the old Archer’s Brewery building. Needless to say, it’s not my sort of place but I wanted to see it for myself before I criticized. (Take heed GloomLaden and visit Cornwall). While sitting all alone in what passes for the bar area, I sent a text to Blameworthy Junior, whose friends had expressed an interest in the new menu. The food is quite exotic and ranges from £22 to £60 for two. I told him they had kangaroo, ostrich, grouse, wildebeeste and even crocodile on the menu. Within seconds I got a message back saying he considered £60 to be a bargain, just for the opportunity to say ‘…And make it snappy’ when ordering the crocodile. I may not have brought him up the way you would have wanted Gloomers, but sometimes it makes me proud to know he remembers all the old jokes I have taught him.

  8. I think they should have dispensed with the chatacters and the setting. Cornwall is as unEnglish as Scotland, after all.

  9. I’m sure Jack Shepherd is a well respected actor, but I don’t recall seeing him in anything else but Wycliffe. He seemed to be sleepwalking his way through the role as if he couldn’t really be bothered. When he refused to do another series, perhaps they should have done a Taggart and continued with different characters. Or better still, dispense with the characters altogether, and any attempt at a plot, and just have the camera travelling around Cornwall for an hour. That’s what most viewers tuned in to watch. It’s where they went wrong with Doc Martin: dispensed with the plot but left the characters to get in the way of the view.

  10. I was quite sincere about my comments on Jack Shepherd, Fitrambler. His having been a nice bloke to his co-actor is neither here or there: Chairman Mao would have suited me had his acting ability in the role been up to snuff and never mind the estimated 100 million murdered Chinese. I’m a very nice bloke, but I’d make an appalling Wycliffe, probably being unable to find my way out of, else into, the police station.

  11. Funny how the mind plays tricks, especially after 7 or 8 pints. When ol’ Gloomers and I drank together – usually just before the curry – I thought he was praising Mr Shepherd.

    Are you having a laugh with me, or was that thingumy black hole comment really what you think?

    Watched the last few episodes of New Tricks last night. Old Jimmy Yuill, who played Kersey played an ex-con…

    Which brings me to a point. Although neither of you two chaps rate old Jack as an actor, there was to be a sixth and possibly more series of Wycliffe, but Jack Shepherd refuse to carry on…

    Jimmy Yuill fell ill with meningitis half way through the fifth season and because of that HTV would no longer risk employing him even though he made a full recovery.

    So Jack said if they won’t employ Jimmy then he wouldn’t carry on. So the series wasn’t commissioned again…

    Damn good job, I hear Gloomers say…I still rather liked it. But then I quite fancied Helen Masters, who played Lucy Lane….so perhaps I’m a tad prejudiced under the circs.

    Hey ho! Bored you enough…

  12. As I’m sure GloomLaden is aware, my comment about Jack Shepherd’s acting ability wasn’t entirely serious. I think Jack spent most of the Wycliffe years in a coma. Any suggestion of movement in the superintendent’s features was merely a trick of the amazing light in West Cornwall.

    Actually, if I’m honest, I wasn’t entirely serious about the Cornish light either. It was all designed to raise GloomLaden’s hackles even further following the Robert Robinson dispute… which, also, wasn’t entirely serious.

  13. Jack Shepherd couldn’t act. He was like a black hole from which no acting talent could escape, even had it been there in the first place. Compare with John Thaw as Morse whose subtle suggestion of a great mind working away behind a morose visage really worked. Of course, my own dear Inspector Malmsey remains uncast – I would have liked Peter Woodthorpe (he played Max in Morse) to do it but he’s dead.

  14. Just thought I’d mention it…..

    I think Jack Shepherd is one of Gloom-Laden’s favourite actors; he use to mention him a lot when we had our drinking sessions years ago. Of course, I’d had a few so I couldn’t quite quote the words of praise he heaped on the actor…

  15. Got through The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Seven series of New Tricks and have seven series of Midsomer Murders to get through…and only nine series of John Nettles previous detective series, Bergerace….

    Just noticed that Amazon are advertising the first series of Shoestring, due for release on 17th October, which, because Trevor Eve didn’t want to make any more after the second series led to the creation of Bergerac…

  16. About a month or so ago I watched the last series of Wycliffe; having gone through the whole series.

    Having read the books, Jack Shepherd’s portrayal of Wycliffe was about right. The trouble is, playing it true to the books doesn’t work as well as playing a character like Morse….Watched all those again over a period of nearly a year…last one around January this year…

    Trouble with Morse is I always want to go to Oxford when I watch it…

  17. Just finished watching an old episode of Wycliffe. That Jack Shepherd bloke really is a superb actor and the quality of the light down in Cornwall is just out of this world.

  18. There was a man whose name was Bob;
    Never had a proper job.
    Thought himself so very clever;
    Had no talent whatsoever.

    Before appearing on the telly
    He would use petroleum jelly
    And with tender loving care,
    To make himself look debonair,

    With his fingers he would spread
    The vaseline upon his head,
    To glue three strands of thinning hair
    Across his scalp where it was bare.

    But still his shiny, swollen head
    Would cause the boys and girls to dread,
    Filling them with apprehension
    At their lack of comprehension.

    But he no longer needs hair oil.
    He’s shuffled off this mortal coil.
    Not so smug the old piss-taker,
    Now he’s gone to meet his maker.

    With thick tweed jacket and old school tie
    He’s gone to the quiz show in the sky.
    Pale and cold, he stands and waits
    Just outside the pearly gates.

    While angels play on harps and lutes,
    Bob stands quaking in his boots.
    With a pompous smile his fear he masks,
    Until St. Peter comes and asks:

    ‘Though wireless listeners may have grieved,
    What on earth have you achieved
    In your lucrative career,
    Asking questions year on year?

    Without wishing to sound uncivil
    Wasn’t it just pointless drivel?
    Answer me before the bell,
    Otherwise you go to hell.

    You who once were Britain’s brain
    Have sixty seconds to explain
    What you have done for the common good’.
    ‘Aahhh yes’ says Bob ‘Would that I could’.

  19. A brilliant broadcaster called Bob
    Who Blameworthy believed was a snob
    Rather passed Fitters by
    Grew old and then died
    Bequeathing GloomLaden his job.

    I wish!

  20. Go careful with the silly deity walks; wouldn’t want you going the way of Robert Robinson. I’ve just looked up the location of the Crown Plaza, and by a strange coincidence, it’s on the corner of Hanger Lane, just down the road from the Fox & Goose. A long way from Ealing Broadway though. Get all your colleagues drunk in the hotel bar and then guide them up the dual carriageway; create a few job vacancies! One for the road.

  21. Was writing the other comment while you were writing the additional comment about pubs in Ealing. I might’ve been a little quicker if I hadn’t been trying the Billy Deity walk in my front room. Too small a room, a too old Fitrambler. Not only a bad back now but a bruised toe where I caught it on my laptop table!!!

    Silly old Fitters!!!

  22. Ah, you’ve added some extra memories. How I remember the doughnuts. Haven’t had many doughnuts in in the last six years or so; and when I have its been one or two at the most. Still love them but there’s – or so I have been informed – obsoletely no nutritional value in them.

    So no Roes and Crown, huh? Ok, even got the year wrong. Should’ve got that right really. I was quite broke between the end of 1991 until things began to sort themselves out. At least I was close with the dark wood pub existing and the one with the photos.

    Will begin studying the map to see how close they are to the hotel we’ll be staying in. Might try and persuade the team to go to one of them. One good thing is that both Topman and Thinker are committed Real Ale drinks. The three of us are a bit worried about Sunny as he drank lager all evening in Stevenage. Although, most pubs were Greene King and if you don’t like Greene King, then you’re rather screwed…

    Still, the bloke he replaced was a lager drinker but even in the short time I was there we managed to convert him…

  23. By the way, you were right about the Rose & Crown and it probably was about the fourth one of the day. I’m not sure if it’s still open but it was in Church Place, just off St. Mary’s Road, going south from the Ealing studios. Lovely little public bar with a dartboard. See, your memory’s not so addled after all.

  24. I think the Ealing outing was around 1996 – 97. We also did Guildford during the same period. It was not long after I notched up my 10,000th pub in York.

    We covered a huge distance on foot that day; Ealing is a big place. The pub opposite the film studios in St. Mary’s Road is the Red Lion, known locally as Studio 6. It’s still in the Good Beer Guide and still has the old photographs of film stars all around the walls. The dark wood panelled pub was the Wheatsheaf in Haven Lane; another Fuller’s GBG entry but it’s a bit more difficult to find. The one I failed to find (there’s always one) was the Fox & Goose in Hanger Lane, near the infamous gyratory traffic system. GloomLaden may well joke about these things, but I really did lead you the wrong way up one of the busiest dual-carriageways in the country that afternoon.

    My abiding memory of the day was your purchase of a six-pack of doughnuts which you ate back to back in about 5 minutes, all the while mumbling ‘Donuts…donuts’ in the manner of Homer Simpson. There was also a man begging for money or food outside the takeaway in the evening. I gave him the raw chilli from my kebab.

  25. That Deity, saw him on telly in the sixties. I think his first name was Billy. Did that funny walk, just like Max Wall use to do….

    Nice weather we’ve had this weekend…hmm.

  26. I confess, I have. I should’ve stuck to beer, much better for my health than all this Pepsi Max and the headaches are worse!

    Was it 1992 we went to Ealing? I still have some memories about it. A pub which had a lot of sketches and photos of celebrities from the studios. One pub I seem to remember – although they do get mixed up over the years – was of a dark wood, I think the fourth we did. I think the Rose and Crown but that’s probably total crap.

    Anyway, the Crowne Plaza Ealing awaits the team and I on the 1st Sept. Have you any pub suggestions?

  27. Don’t worry, Fitrambler, matters Bobular are unlikely to be a concern from here on, the wake is over. Bob fans thw world over (that’s me and a chap in East Grinstead) must heave a valedictory sigh and get on with the travesty our lives are by comparison with His (or, indeed, yours).

  28. Been reading all the comments around thisBob Robertson geezer, not sure I remember him. Was he that Jeeves like character who used to turn up in those squash adverts with a brand name like his surname…….

    ….I’ll get me coat!

  29. I get the impression that spending far too much time listening to the wireless as a young boy is at the root of much of your disillusionment in later life. Master Blameworthy was brought up having to hear my dull, interminable monologues in a variety of basic village alehouses. He was never under any illusions that he would pass through the threshold of adult life and enter a world of bright humorous conversation.

    Sorry, I lost concentration whilst reading that last comment, being unable to wipe clean the image from my mind, of the intellectual pygmy GloomLaden, in the bath, with a mohican hair style and a bone through his nose. Do you think even Arthur Smith would treat you with contempt?

    Enjoyed the Bob Show though.

  30. Well, I think that rather jolly hour of Bobtacular nostalgia is about the last we’ll hear of the old fellow Earlier on, I somehow couldn’t help hearing – I was in the bath – Arthur Smith on Loose Ends. The man has the voice of a half emptied Hoover bag. Proof positive of dumbing down at the BBC. One respect in which I do feel sad is that when young and listening to ‘Stop the Rot’. I imagined that growing up and getting educated would lead me to just such a world of bright, humourous conversation. Discovoering, in fact, that there were very few such conversatinalists and that those there were would hold an intellectual pygmy like me in contempt, I ought to have rebelled and become a punk or somesuch. Alas, it was not to be. It all makes me feel old, too. I bet Master Blameworthy doesn’t even know who Bob was..

  31. What does it matter as long as they had big knobs? I don’t suppose anyone ever owned more than one anyway. I particularly liked the old valve radiograms though, with tuning scales a few yards longer than the average sitting room and with all those radio stations printed alongside their frequencies, like Hilversum and Helvetia, whose signals were never strong enough to cross the English Channel or the North Sea.

    The Bob broadcast clashes with the X Factor this evening, so some people will have a difficult choice to make.

  32. It’s not wirelesses or wireless and, however much more satisfying it would be, it isn’t wireli, wireleast or wiremore either.

    Would that it weren’t, but the plural of wireless is radios.

  33. …I’ll go on.

    Actually, I was rather hoping your comment was final, it would have saved me wasting valuable time in responding. But having declared that the greatest satisfaction is to be gained from the most pointless activities, I suppose I should continue. Despite all I’ve said about Bob, I shall definitely be listening on Saturday evening. Mrs.Blameworthy and I can gather round the wireless, with a mug of cocoa, and chuckle merrily as we join in with all those old favourite catchphrases. I’m rather looking forward to it.

    Aaahhhh yes!

  34. I didn’t mean that last comment to seem final, I was just referencing the way Bob used to sign off. Apparently, Bob’s linguistic precision was in part down to his College tutor at Oxford, Nevil Coghill. Anyway, you will doubtless be thrilled to hear that Radio 4 are doing an HOUR LONG tribute to Bob on Saturday evening 8pm. Not to be missed, I’m saying. Turn up all those wirlesses (or should the plural remain wireless?) in the Blameworthy household and genuflect!

  35. That last comment from GloomLaden sounded very final. I suspect the loss of Robert Robinson has become too much for him to bear, and he has finally decided to end it all. I take some compensation from the knowledge that my carefully chosen words will have given him comfort and consolation. A good friend is just what he needed to provide succour and solace at such a sad time and to help him through the grieving process.

    It won’t be the same without him; we shall never see his like again…

    I can’t go on…

  36. Swede Home Alabama
    The theme from Auf Swede erzwin, Pet

    And with that (as Bob can no longer say) I bid you goodbye

  37. With my head held low in shame, I’ve just confessed to Mrs. Blameworthy that I’ve been trying to think of songs with vegetables in the title again, but had been unable to root out any that mention swedes. She asked me why I’ve not come up with the obvious one ‘Swede Caroline’ by Neil Diamond. I think she may have misheard me.

    In any case I would have preferred ‘Bitter Swede Symphony’.

  38. Do you consider an exercise bike to be more, or less, pointless than the real thing?

    I’m sure you noticed that, having fiddled around with the wording of my last message, I left myself with a ‘was’ where there should have been a ‘were’. If only the English language were as easy to fathom for us yokels as it is for intellectuals like yourself GloomLaden.

    Would that it was; would that it was!

  39. Actually, cycling is a pretty pointless occupation. Everywhere is more or less the same as everywhere else, so you might as well stay where put.

  40. Having hooted with derision at my trivial pursuits whilst pompously promoting activities of a more cerebral nature, GloomLaden then goes on to wish for a quick death. If there is such a thing as wasting time, – which I doubt – actually being dead is the greatest time wasting activity imaginable. Why, it can barely even be classed as an activity! On a scale of one to ten it would score maximum points. Contemplating suicide would rate a respectable nine points and come a close second to death itself. Having the opportunity to waste time proactively should be considered a luxury; the more pointless the activity, the more satisfaction there is to be gained from it. It is my opinion that bringing about one’s own demise should be considered as cheating, in that it achieves maximum time wasting with minimal effort on the part of the deceased. I suggest that, if GloomLaden was to put more backbone into his futile existence, he would discover both pleasure and purpose and, as a result, his life would become full of joy.

    Why not get yourself an allotment Gloomers, and grow leeks, parsnips and beetroot? Or take up ballroom dancing to impress the ladies? You could even pass endless pleasurable hours in random stone masonry. I bought two large CD racks yesterday and have whiled away the time this morning sorting my extensive CD collection into alphabetical order. What could be more satisfying? Who knows, perhaps one day I might even put one of the discs into the CD player and listen to the music? I think I’ll have a look on Amazon and see if I can get a copy of that album by Rutabaga Suicide. Now what was it called again?

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