In this blogposting...
*Robinson’s Grand Tour
*The Blogpic
Now let’s be ‘avin’ ya...

In former years - in those far off salad days when I was but green in deed - I used to think that, generally speaking, palindromes were little more than utterly trivial wastes of time. It’s all very well to concoct a sentence that reads backwards as well as forwards - and yet somehow pointless if the result makes no sense at all. Rats live on no evil star seems to me to be complete drivel. Madam I’m Adam is useful only if you’re called Adam and there’s a woman nearby who you think wants to know your name. Able was I ere I saw Elba can only have been declaimed by Napoleon - and even then, he would have said it in French.

The only palindrome I ever found that had any sort of literary merit was A Man, A Plan, A Canal - Panama! It not only meets palindromic criteria but also makes a modicum of sense. In its own elegant way, it even tells a story (of admittedly limited scope)

I was therefore delighted to hear once again from Martin, in Houghton-le-Spring. He has sent me proof, if proof were ever needed, that one of mankind’s more endearing qualities is the relish with which he is prepared to wallow in complete trivia, to bathe in the warm waters of his own fruitless yet joyful inventiveness.

There is, apparently, a whole family of Panama! palindromes. There’s even a kind of Panama! fan club, whose members occupy their time in attempts to lengthen the original Panama! palindrome to inordinate and ludicrous proportions. The idea seems to be to make it endless so that it stretches, ad infinitum, to the far reaches of hyperspace where no-one but Patrick Moore (whom God preserve) will ever find its conclusion.

Stage One: A man, a plan, a cat, a canal – Panama!
I’m not sure if there is any historical evidence for feline involvement in the construction of the waterway, but I’m prepared to turn a blind eye to the truth on this occasion.

Stage Two: A man, a plan, a cam, a yak, a yam, a canal – Panama!
The cat has disappeared and been replaced by an engine part, a kind of huge cow and an exotic fruit. But still this is Central America, so you never know.

Stage Three: A man, a plan, a cat, a ham, a yak, a yam, a hat, a canal – Panama!
The cat has returned (as they do), this time accompanied by some meat and an item of headgear. Credulity is being stretched to the limit. It snaps completely at...

Stage Four: A man, a plan, a canoe, pasta, heros, rajahs, a coloratura, maps, snipe, percale, macaroni, a gag, a banana bag, a tan, a tag, a banana bag again (or a camel), a crepe, pins, Spam, a rut, a Rolo, cash, a jar, sore hats, a peon, a canal – Panama!
Were it not for the fact that heros is misspelt, this would be a truly magnificent palindrome. I love that a banana bag again (or a camel)!

Martin quite clearly needs to get out more. Although where exactly he would go in Houghton-le-Spring is a matter of some conjecture.

Thankyou for all the advice, tips, hints, wrinkles and recommendations you’ve sent me about the towns and cities I’ve asked you about so far on my Grand Tour. They’ve all been carefully logged for further research and investigation.

It’s time now to move on to the next stage of my journey; to Verona and Venice.

The route taken by the Munich-to-Verona express is said to be one of the prettiest in Europe and I’m looking forward to it immensely. And when I get to Verona, I’ll be in the city of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Two Gentlemen of... There’s a complete Roman amphitheatre there, too. But what else?

From Verona I will be taking a day trip by train to Venice. Yes, I know that a few hours in one of the world’s great cities seems to be rendering it an almost perverse disservice. Indeed, quite a few people have been roundly critical of the fact that I’m not giving each destination the time it deserves.

My only counterblast is that, to a certain extent, the destinations are a kind of bonus. The holiday is all about the train journeys themselves. Please try to understand, dear reader.

Having said that, I’d love to hear what your experiences of Verona and/or Venice have been, or what unexpected and hidden delights you can find out about either or both of them.

Still on my Grand Tour...something rather amazing happened today.

I went to good old Marks and Spencer’s to find some cargo shorts and a safari jacket for my trip and the lass who said Can I help you? as I looked vaguely round the racks turned out to be none other than Yvonne Salisbury. Yes, that Yvonne Salisbury. Munich, it turns out, is her most favourite place on earth. So much so that she runs a website called insidersmunich.com and has won an award for the travel book she’s written about the city.

Isn’t it a small - and deeply coincidental - world? Take a look at her website. And the next time you’re in Marks’ say Hello from me.

I showed a slightly cropped version of this posting’s picture above blogposting 193. However, everyone seems to have been so engrossed in the correspondence between the Lady Euphemia Overall-Burke and myself that no-one at all asked what it was a picture of.

Until someone does ask, I intend to keep re-posting it. So there.

The next AGM which I will be able to attend will probably take place in wcm 12 Showery. Please feel very free to decide on which date, and at which venue. You could even have your own AGM to make those decisions.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all - at either or both!

Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com


Sid said...

It's Tuffi the elephant Ian. I was curious so just looked it up.
I had a chuckle at your trip to Marks and Sparks looking for cargo shorts and a safari jacket. I was half expecting to find Blunderbuss in the list somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Message for Vivienne from Ada regarding book Title is Dewey - the small town library cat. by Vicki Myron.

Hildie said...

Ummm .... palindromes ....

Do geese see God?

Murder for a jar of rum.

A Toyota! Race fast ... safe car:
a Toyota.

Ummm ... no ... they don't excite me ... in fact I may, I think, suffer from
AIBOHPHOBIA - the palindromic term for an irrational fear of palindromes.

I AM excited about something today though ... my electricity has been switched back on ... NEDL have been doing some fixing of an electricity pole at the bottom of my road ... and, wonders never cease, they finished the job earlier than expected ... isn't that good?!!!

Hildie said...

p.s. Sid, how did Tuffy the elephant find himself in such a predicament as that?

Hildie said...

Whoops! apologies ... please read Murder for a jar of red rum.

Had you puzzled there, didn't I?!

Ian Robinson said...

Tell her Sid!

Sid said...

Well, if you're sitting comfortably...
Wuppertal Schwebebahn is a suspended monorail in Wuppertal, Germany.
On the 21st of July 1950 the Althoff Circus orchestrated a publicity stunt by putting an elephant by the name of Tuffi on the train at the Alter Markt station.
Tuffi became upset shortly into the ride, crashed through the left side of the car, and fell into the river Wooper below. The elephant, two journalists, and one passenger received minor injuries.
Both the operator and the circus director were fined after the incident.
To this day, the wall of a building at the location of this event shows a painting of a jumping elephant.
Now do I get to sharpen the pencils?

Hildie said...

What with that tale and the one Leroy told us about the train,it just goes to show that truth really can be stranger than fiction.
What a mad idea - the elephant on the train idea - was. I'm glad to hear that Tuffi, those journalists and the passenger were not seriously hurt.
However, once the journalists had nursed their wounds .... they had quite some story to put into print!
And very well done - to the chap who captured it on camera ... it's an amazing photograph. Bet he never took a better action shot than that one!
Sid, very definitely, you may sharpen the pencils this week! Would you also like to wash out the paint pots, as an extra-special reward for being clever?
I'm sure you would.
That reminds me ... I'm in at school tomorrow ... and Wednesday
... and Friday ... and I'm at work
Tuesday and Thursday at my other job .... not much time to play this week. I'll be popping in here when I can though ... to see what happens after Verona and Venice!

Vivienne said...

Hi Ada,

Thanks very much for asking Christine to post details about 'Dewey.' I'll be on the lookout for the book next time I'm in Waterstones. I hope your ankle injury is recovering quickly.

Five Gold Stars go to Sid!!! This Blog should be made into a book. The amount of fascinating facts posted by our resourceful Truckshunters is truly amazing. Well done everyone!!!

Sid said...

Do you know....if the internet had been around when I passed my 11+ I reckon I would have done more of my homework....and not get expelled.
(And still found time to play football in the backlane with my pals!)

Hildie said...

Well ...
Mr Ian Michael Palin Robinson ....
tempus fugit ... here we are in the month of March already ....
bring it on !!

Sid .... you are so right about the internet .... I'd have loved to have had it to call upon for help with my homework ... it was always a dip into Encyclopedia Britannica, followed by a trip to the library ... and home with an armful of books.
And then, inevitably, there were the library fines!

Sid said...

I used to spend hours at the library. It had a huge paved area at the front..ideal for roller skates. Talk about a misspent youth...

Hildie said...

Ian ... I'm perplexed .... Paul Mooney tonight said,
"Meteorologically speaking, it's the first day of Spring today."

What does he mean?

I have always believed that Spring begins on 21st. March.

Sid said...

I think he meant...it's the first decent day we've had this year.

Sid said...

I should have added... "he'll not be saying that at the end of next week".
Just let's hope my long range weather website forecast is wrong!

Leroy La Strange said...

Yo Sid,

Having the Idea of the internet or even computers in those days..... would have been enough to have had you burnt at the stake for Witchcraft..... ;-D