Yesterday whilst at work in the pub, the late Sunday afternoon punters and I were discussing the week’s political and social issues. No great bones of contention or fundamental disagreements, for a change…
Chewing the fat about social ills, politics, cars, women, music and the great unwashed idle youth of the day is what blokes do over a beer. Luckily for me none of the clientage started on about football (for a change). If they had I’d probably have been scooting off down the cellar to check the stock or at the very least, would be catching up on some pot washing. There’s nothing like the topic of 22 grown men kicking the wrong shaped bag of wind around, to make me slip into a perpetual vegetative state!
The previous weeks events obviously had people voicing their fears about job cuts etc. An issue with the potential for high negative impact locally, especially when public sector employment is so predominant in the area. The usual left and right viewpoints of the bar politics divide were vociferous, most had something to say about the rights and wrongs of the austerity measures, even if it was only “poxy government” or “labour would have looked after the workers better”. Isn’t it funny how the less educated normally resort to the us and them, upper class shafting the lower class argument? If only it were that simple!
To be honest, less than a week since the austerity measures were announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, I’m already getting jaded with the dearth of ‘expert’ opinion. Whatever your opinions, at least we got a laugh from the Danny Alexander job cuts exposure gaffe and ‘Beaker‘ the hapless HM Treasury Muppet also got his website hacked by disgruntled ex-followers (read more).
It appears that Danny Boy will be beating a hasty retreat from the heat of the political kitchen very shortly and will be meep meeping all the way to the back benches of parliament, always assuming your actually daft enough to believe everything you read in the papers.
Move over Danny! Spin doctors order reshuffle, live on TV – He may be a key architect of the Coalition’s huge cuts, but when they were unveiled in the Commons, Treasury Minister Danny Alexander was humiliatingly cut out of the picture. (Read more)
Another enthralling night of putting the world to rights eventually drew to a close, with the afternoon ‘graveyard’ shift over for another week, I consumed a couple of well-earned ‘off duty’ beers then strolled home in the now cold evening air. Normally at this time of night if the wife is at work, I relax with a couple of beers, read a book and listen to some Radcliffe & Maconie on Radio 2.
Stuart Maconie is the UK’s best-selling travel writer of non-TV tie-in books and his Pies and Prejudice was one of 2008’s top selling paperbacks. His work has been compared with Bill Bryson, Alan Bennett and John Peel and described by The Times as a ‘National Treasure’. (Read more)
As Mark and Stuart don’t do a slot on a Sunday night I grabbed myself a beer from the fridge, shuffled into the living room, fell into the grip of the armchair and toasted my toes on the hearth whilst I enjoyed my well-earned ale. At this point I reached into the magazine rack and pulled out a copy of ‘Country Walking’ magazine to read (See Stuart Maconie interview). As I flipped through the publication I was hit by one of those eureka moments, the ones that great scientists and authors have from time to time.
In September 2009, the Radcliffe & Maconie show was broadcast live from different locations along the Hadrian’s Wall trail, as Mark & Stuart walked between the Solway Firth and Wallsend. In 2010 they continued the walking theme from locations along the Jurassic Coast including Exmouth, Weymouth, Lyme Regis and Sidmouth. They now, occasionally, refer to themselves as “The Beery Hikers”.
What a great catchy tittle for a blog post thinks I but what the hell do I write about? Well the ‘Beaker’ bit is covered above and now I’ve got connection #2 with the ‘Beery Hikers’ (one to go). After reading for an hour or so and maybe even nodding off briefly, my dozziness was suddenly disturbed. I came back to the land of living abruptly as the dog stuck her big black damp nose in my ear to remind me it was walk time. I finished my now flat beer (don’t you just hate it when you fall asleep before you’ve finished drinking) and grabbed my coat and the dog lead.
We hadn’t got far down the road before my ears were stinging and fit for dropping off, it was absolutely bloody freezing. A fact confirmed the following day when the weather girl announced it had been one of the coldest October nights on record. As my Barnett is receding and I usually sport a #1 haircut, I normally wear a beanie hat to insulate my body’s nerve centre. Some warped logic tells me that if my brain cells are kept warm and active, it might just slow down the aging process. I say warped because after the years of booze, fags and a relatively sedentary lifestyle, I’ve probably already done my bit for contributing to an early onset of senility!
As my coat didn’t have a hood, and I wasn’t all that happy about having to scrabble about on the already frosty ground trying to reclaim the fallen autumnal ear, I rummaged in my pocket and found a screwed up Buff. I kind of vaguely remember thinking it was a handkerchief on the way back from the pub one night, unfortunately it was when I had a heavy cold. The fact said item may have been harbouring some unpleasant germs, or worse (yuk) was immaterial. It felt dry (although somewhat crusty) and there was no other option, unless I wanted to arrive home resembling a famous Dutch painter that is! With a little haste I performed the magic Buff manoeuvres bit and brought some relief to my frozen aural extremities…
The dog and I completed the sub-zero purgatory as quick as possible. Not as quick as it could have been but that’s down to the old girls advancing years and arthritis, bless here. It’s an absolute sodding pain when it’s pissing down with rain, you get twice as wet because she takes twice as long to do the distance these days. She doesn’t like the rain either but hell would freeze over before she would break into a trot.
We arrived home and with the dexterity of a returning triumphant polar explorer, I managed to manipulate the key in the front door and as I threw the door open wide, the warmth of the house poured out from the glow of the hall and stung my face. Shutting the door behind us, I glanced in the hallway mirror and was confronted with a Si King lookalike, although somewhat slightly less rotund. Yes! That’s it, I had found the final link in my Blog post title trilogy, The Hairy Bikers! For those that don’t know, Si King wears a Buff when preparing food in a proper kitchen.
If it wasn’t so bloody cold I’d be off back out to the Kebab shop to get some supper. Think I’ll just manage with tea and toast tonight and drool whilst watching one!