239In this blogposting…
*Speaking of Which…
*My Secret Fetish
*An Eleventh Reason to be French
*Dave Shannon - At It Again
Now read on - if you dare…
The pictures of the four airports where you just have to trust the pilot, shown above, were (like the wonderful picture of ‘two feet of snow‘ on the last blogposting) sent to me by Eric and Jean, who run The Commercial in Tantobie. So another Thankyou to them!
SPEAKING OF WHICH…
Thanks to the amazing Peter, who says the snow picture reminded him of the wonderful Bobby Thompson…
‘The mother-in-law’s walking round with one welly on - coz the forecast said there’s gunna be a foot of snow.’
As Peter says - they don’t make jokes like they used to.
MY SECRET FETISH
I was recently told - by someone whose judgment I have always trusted absolutely and implicitly - that we all have deep, dark and sometimes obsessive desires which we seldom (and sometimes never) reveal to the wider world.
They lurk unseen and undernourished in the shadowy recesses of our souls and are rarely allowed up for air. And we conceal them, often from our very closest friends, because either they make us feel somehow inadequate (trainspotting, DIY, daytime tv), they don't conform to the images we all carefully create for public consumption (dressing in clothes of the opposite sex - or no clothes at all, reading Catherine Cookson books, watching George Formby films) or because we are ashamed of them (pulling the legs off crane flies, fancying Dale Winton, wanting to live in Shildon).
I have harboured such a fetish for years now. In fact, I've harboured several such fetishes but I'm only going to reveal what I consider to be the least incriminating of them here.
(If you are of a nervous disposition, move straight on down to The Eleventh Reason to be French, below.)
My secret fetish, so far unfulfilled, is....
And not any old clogs, either. Especially not the ludicrous Dutch variety, which - as I've seen with my own eyes - are virtually impossible to walk in.
And not those trendy Scholl clogs that you could hear clomping round the house or down the street long before you could see them. What, I ask you, is the point of a clog with no upper?
No. The clogs I crave are English clogs. Solid wooden soles and uppers made of leather you could build a tank out of.
Whenever I've seen them worn - all too rarely, if you ask me - I've been bewitched by them. They look totally solid and sensible - and not in a tweedy, office-block kind of way. They look as if they would survive a nuclear attack.
To me, clogs are the supreme example of purpose matching design perfectly.
The big problem with my secret clog fetish is, of course, that no-one else seems to share it. Clogs are about as unfashionable as you can get without donning a fair-isle cardigan and doing the Black Bottom.
And this means that, in all the years during which I have been intermittently searching for a pair, I've never found any. I even asked on the Blue Bus programme one day; a listener came up with the name of a clogmaker somewhere in Yorkshire that had, as it happens, just gone out of business.
So I was delighted - no, I was thrilled to smithereens - to be told that there'd been a clog-dancing event in Newcastle city centre a few days ago. Needless to say, nobody told me about it beforehand - probably because nobody knew about my secret clogophilia. So I missed it. How typical is that?
All, though, is not lost. The event was part of a documentary being made for tv about the resurgence of clog-dancing in the north-east. It will be shown on BBC4 this coming Saturday, 11 December. And I just can't wait.
It feels wonderful to know that I'm not alone in my love of the humble clog. It's the same feeling I got when I discovered - via The Nightshift - that there were other people in the world who disliked Ricky Gervais and Little Britain - as much as I did.
So my day has been made. Except that I still haven't found a supplier of clogs.
If you have some spare time on your hands, you could help me out with that one.
THE ELEVENTH REASON TO BE FRENCH
In blogposting 230, I quoted some playful ‘Top Ten Reasons’ to be various nationalities. A big Thankyou to Sid, who suggests that an eleventh reason to be French is….that you get to say things only once.
(If you don’t understand this joke, you’re either under 30 or very forgetful about the sillier tv comedy shows.)
DAVE SHANNON - AT IT AGAIN
Another big Thankyou, this time to truckshunter Dave Shannon, who has sent me these lovely - though rather unsettling - jokes.
THE POOR OLD COUPLE
‘An old man placed an order for one hamburger, French fries and a drink.
He unwrapped the plain hamburger and carefully cut it in half, placing one half in front of his wife.
He then carefully counted out the French fries, dividing them into two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of his wife.
He took a sip of the drink, his wife took a sip and then set the cup down between them.
As he began to eat his few bites of hamburger, the people around them were looking over and whispering.
Obviously they were thinking, 'That poor old couple - all they can afford is one meal for the two of them.'
As the man began to eat his fries a young man came to the table and politely offered to buy another meal for the old couple.
The old man said they were just fine - they were used to sharing everything.
People closer to the table noticed the little old lady hadn't eaten a bite.
She sat there watching her husband eat and occasionally taking turns sipping the drink.
Again, the young man came over and begged them to let him buy another meal for them.
This time the old woman said 'No, thank you, we are used to sharing everything.'
Finally, as the old man finished and was wiping his face neatly with the napkin, the young man again came over to the little old lady who had yet to eat a single bite of food and asked 'What is it you are waiting for?'
THE SPANISH LESSON
A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.
House for instance, is feminine: 'la casa.' Pencil, however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'
A student asked, 'What gender is computer?'
Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups - male and female - and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.
The men's group decided that computer should definitely be of the feminine gender ('la computadora'), because:
- no-one but their creator understands their internal logic
- the native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else
- even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval, and
- as soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your wages on accessories for it.
The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine ('el computador'), because:
- in order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on
- they have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves
- they are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they are the problem
- as soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have got a better model.
The women won.
AND SOME LATERAL THINKING
Dave also sent me these three 'lateral thinking' puzzles. I've never been much good at this sort of thing and didn't answer any of these correctly.
1 There are six eggs in a basket. Six people each take one egg - yet one egg remains in the basket. How can this be?
2 Acting on an anonymous phone call, the police raid a house to arrest a suspected murderer. They don’t know what he looks like but they know his name is John.
Inside the house they find a carpenter, a lorry driver, a car mechanic and a fireman playing cards. Without even asking his name, they immediately arrest the fireman.
How do they know that he’s the one they want?
3 There was once a recluse who never left his home. The only time anyone ever visited him was when his food and supplies were delivered - but the visitors never came inside.
Then, one stormy winter night when an icy gale was blowing, he went out of his mind. He went upstairs, turned off all the lights and went to bed.
Next morning, he had caused the deaths of several hundred people.
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