Friday, June 24, 2011

This Charming Man.

It has long been mentioned by others, others who should often know better, that I am due more exercise. My recent flirtation with my mortality at the Leighton house of pain resulted in a leaner me to the tune of almost two of Her Majesty's imperial stones and I know this, and the concomitant rise in my level of general physical fitness, has been appreciated in certain quarters but there is still room for improvement. So I have sought to remedy the situation in a drastic fashion; I have entered a World Championship and I compete this coming Saturday.

The nearby village of Willaston has played host for the last three decades to the World Worm Charming Championships. It is a prestigious event covered by the world's most renowned media operators, although Sky haven't yet sullied it with huge cash injections and an insistence on it being held at a convenient for advertisers slot or formulated a short snappy version to be played in pyjamas, so wherever you are in the world you should be able to view my fellow combatants and me in competition, probably in the "And finally..." bit.

How does it work? Simple; you have half an hour to get as many worms out of a 3m square plot of primary school playing field (yes, there IS actually one left without a housing estate on it) as possible without digging a hole or using water or other forms of chemical inducement. The favoured method seems to be to somehow mimic the sound of rainfall falling on the earth and indeed, watch gulls and other birds in your own garden and you will often see them waddling about on the spot doing just that. A brand new large garden fork has been purchased and I have sawn notches into a piece of 1" x 1" timber batten I had kept (I just KNEW it would come in useful. SEE? That's what sheds are for) to draw along the handle of the fork while it is stuck in the ground, a practice known as "fiddling". So far my training sessions have yielded precisely this many worms: 0. I'm hoping it's going to chuck it down and save me the bother. I have done this before, though, much more successfully. Many years ago while on holiday in Denmark, my then father-in-law and I were discussing obtaining worms for fishing bait with our hosts. Our hosts' daughter's certifiable boyfriend, Per, had the answer, which he swore blind worked: two garden forks, stuck in the lawn several feet apart and several yards of electrical cable. With a plug on the end. Health and safety be damned. We naturally stood off the lawn and made sure it wasn't raining when he flicked the switch but it took about 30 seconds until the poor buggers came flying out. I'm sure this method isn't allowed on Saturday.

Apparently the worms respond well to music but not, as one would assume, the calming strains of something pastoral or soothing. No, apparently they prefer the driving rhythms of rock and roll. Splendid. I couldn't find anything with forks in it and there's no way I'm playing that load of old dreary from The Smiths. Another garden implement then...

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Football theory.

I watched the football match between the England and the Switzerland earlier. Favourites England very soon went behind 2 - 0 and were being outplayed and out-cheated (first goal, he never touched him, ref) by the wily Alpine also rans. After 30 minutes, Sig Capello replaced the crocked left back, Ashley Cole, with Everton's Leighton Baines (above) and parity was very soon restored, with Baines, to my mind, being the stand-out player for England.

Why was this? It was for no other reason than because he looks like a proper footballer. Busy and stocky. Wide forehead. Proper haircut. The way footballers used to look back when the Daily Express was very nearly a newspaper. Let's face it, when I was a kid nobody ever wanted to look like a footballer, even though some of them were reported to earn about £100 a week. I bet he even has an old Ford Granada Ghia and wants to run a pub in Cheshire when he hangs up his boots. This is the way it should be.

Some proper footballers, not nancy boy overpaid whingeing poofs (except maybe the long-haired lady-boy in the Arsenal shirt). Huge prizes for correct guesses.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Silly count.

I have been annoying people with my pickiness. Or is that pickyness? Neither, at least according to Blogger's spell-check. Do I care? Well, yes. What is the point in having a language if one does not appreciate its general rules? But I will accept that misunderstandings occur when basic common sense deserts in favour of slavish interpretation of what the eye sees.

Yesterday, in ASDA, we purchased the above box of fungi. It clearly states a price of £1 as it was a special offer. There was no bar code, just a product number. If you are familiar with the self-service tills at supermarkets, you will understand this. The highly trained operatives in ASDA, one would think, would be similarly familiar. Ours, on inputting the number into the machinery, received a prompt: "Enter amount" the screen said, which she repeated audibly. She stopped, thought for a second and, notwithstanding the fact that she was about to charge us £1 for every item, proceeded to count every mushroom in the box. Oh.