214In this blogposting…
*Another dangerous substance
Now, let the Devil take the hindmost...
...will take place at 1100 tomorrow, Wednesday 25 August at the Tanfield Railway. There’ll be cups of tea and a train ride and some scrummy cakes all round, I shouldn’t wonder. And, all other things being equal, there’ll be a very special guest.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
Two days ago, and for reasons too deeply unsettling to go into here, I found myself 2,000 feet above sea-level - parked at the Hartside Summit cafe on the road between Alston and Penrith. I'd stopped there for a coffee and toasted tea-cake, and also to admire one of my favourite of all views. On a clear day, you can almost see over the top of the lakeland fells to the Irish Sea and to Scotland, as you'll know if you've ever been there on a clear day.
Clear days, though, are a thing of great rarity at Hartside, and last Monday was no exception. It was virtually enveloped in cloud to such an abysmal extent that it was practically impossible to see the viewpoint display board, let alone the view it explains.
An unlikely place and time, then, to hear someone say 'You're Ian Robinson, aren't you?'
The lady in question was called Jenny and, in what now seems to me like another lifetime, we had met one another at the Big Blue Bus at Chillingham Road in Heaton.
Nostalgia for the 'good old days' quickly became irrelevant, however, when she told me that, at any moment, she was expecting her future son-in-law to appear through the mist. He was running the C2C route from Workington to Tynemouth, a route normally (and sensibly) followed only by cyclists. To run it verges on the insane.
Jenny's future son-in-law, though, was doing it for charity - in this case, one devoted to the investigation and prevention of suicides amongst young people - so his temporary loss of reason is to be excused; welcomed, even.
As she was telling me this, he did indeed appear at the top of the path from Melmerby. He was soaked to the skin and exhausted (although he's so fit that that doesn't really show in the photograph).
So...Jenny...if you're reading this blogposting, please get in touch (via the comments box or via email, address below) and tell us his name, the names of his fellow-travellers on bikes, and how much he managed to raise by the time he got to Tynemouth.
It would also be useful to know where truckshunters can send any contributions they want to make.
If you have any further pictures of his run...well, they would be nice, too.
ANOTHER DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE
A big truckshunter-style hug to Michael, in Houghton-le-Spring, from whom I haven’t heard in ages and ages. He has emailed me to say that he was so petrified by the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide in the last blog that he has sensibly vowed never to go near it again ‘unless’, he says, ‘it’s been adulterated in some way; perhaps in the form of beer, wine or - in extremis - whiskey.’
Sound thinking, Michael.
Almost as an afterthought, he has also turned his attention to that other staple of the ‘poorest man’s diet’: bread.
After extensive research, he’s come up with de facto proof that bread, too, is one of the most lethal substances known to humankind.
*more than 98 percent of convicted criminals are bread users
*fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardised tests
*in the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever and influenza ravaged whole nations
*more than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
*bread is made from a substance called dough. It has been proved that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average European eats more bread than that in one month!
*primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis
*bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread, and given only water, begged for bread after as little as two days
*bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jam, cheese, eggs and sausages
*bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90% water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person
*newborn babies can choke on bread.
*bread is baked at temperatures as high as 240 degrees Celsius. That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
*some bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.
I’d be interested to hear from any other truckshunters whose researches into hitherto ‘blameless’ substances have led them to surprising conclusions.
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