In this blogposting…
* Lawrence
* A Kev Conundrum
* What The Toilet Is For
* Insults
* Quotes of the Day
Proceed with caution...

As you’ll have seen if you’ve checked out the comments to the last blogposting, today (Sunday 27 November) is Lawrence’s birthday.

Although work commitments mean that he hasn’t attended many AGMs, Lawrence is as important a member of our select community as anyone else.  For a start, it was one of his beloved rats - Grosvenor - that we adopted as our mascot on The Nightshift.

And our wayward On Your Doorstep chats were a landmark in the art of unpredictable radio journalism (for which I ought to apologise to Lawrence, but won’t).

After each early-morning recording, Lawrence and I got into the habit of having breakfast at a ‘greasy spoon’ on Motorbike Hill - a tradition which, I’m glad to say, continues regularly to this day.

So truckshunters all - wherever and whoever you are - please raise a congratulatory glass to the remarkable and redoubtable Lawrence.

Happy Birthday, Lawrence - from all of us.

In my last posting, I said that AGM XXX would take place on Tuesday 16 December.  I was wrong.  So pay attention…

Kev is one of our most loyal and devoted truckshunters; his involvement with the ‘movement’ goes all the way back to Nightshift days and beyond.  For various reasons, though, he can never make it to our AGMs - wherever or whenever they are.  So he has kindly suggested that we hold our Christmas AGM at his workplace in South Shields.

So I am delighted to tell you that AGM XXX will take place at 1100 on Monday 19 December at South Tyneside College.

This will be a truly ground-breaking AGM; it’s Kev’s chance to put faces to names and your chance to meet a man I’m proud to have known for quite a while now.

So please come and join us for a celebratory pre-Christmas cuppa and chinwag.

A particularly splendid time is guaranteed for all.

(If you’re not sure how to get there, get in touch.)

Speaking of Kev…

I met him for a coffee the other day, during which he mentioned in passing the following statistical conundrum.  (Kev is very good at this sort of thing.)

I’m sure he explained the flaw but I was so confused that I’ve forgotten it.

So pay attention; here goes….

Let’s say (for the sake of argument) that 20% of road accidents involve people who are drunk.

This means that 80% of road accidents - the vast majority - involve people who are
not drunk.

It therefore follows that, when you’re driving, it’s much safer to be drunk than sober.

True?  Of course not.

But why not?

‘All my good reading, you might say, was done in the toilet. There are passages in Ulysses which can be read only in the toilet - if one wants to extract the full flavor of their content.’

Henry Miller said that and personally I think he was wrong - or at least, he didn’t go far enough.  The toilet is the only place where I would even consider reading Ulysses at all; like many other people, I’ve tried to get to grips with it but have only ever succeeded in reaching the bottom of Page One.  On one unforgettable attempt, I didn’t even get that far.

Ultimately, though, Henry Miller was absolutely right.  The toilet is a wonderful place to read a book.  Think about it.  You’re alone and will not be disturbed (unless your household is of a peculiarly perverted kind).  The toilet is a small, quiet room with few distractions, which means you can really get to grips with whatever’s to hand.  As it were.

I’m now so deeply hooked on the habit of reading in the the toilet that, if I ever visit one that has no books by the bowl, I end up reading the shampoo bottles and toothpaste tubes.  You know the kind of thing:  ‘Specially formulated by Tesco to give your hair age-defying bounce and colour’ - whatever ‘age-defying bounce’ might be.

Or ‘with natural extracts of horse-chestnut and cabbage to help relieve those tired muscles’.  They obviously know something about horse-chestnuts that escapes the rest of us.

I am, in fact, deeply suspicious of anyone who has no books to read in the toilet.  After all, what else is there to do in there?

You have to be careful, though.  The great novels of history  - like Ulysses - are not good toilet books.  Neither you nor your guests want to relieve themselves whilst struggling with Great Expectations, after all.

No; what you need are books that can dipped into at random; trivia books of one sort or another.  They need to consist of items just a page or two long, so that you can inwardly digest the contents in the time it takes for you to dispose of material you have previously digested inwardly.

Inspired by these considerations, I’ve just paid a visit to my own toilet here.  Here is a list of some of the books that you can dip into if you ever choose to visit me - and it.

All Gong And No Dinner:  1,001 Homely Phrases and Curious Domestic Sayings  - unearthed by the lovely Nigel Rees and his Quote...Unquote programme on Radio 4…

The Book of Lists:  The Original Compendium of Curious Information
This astonishing book includes lists like ‘9 Body Parts You Didn’t Know Had Names’ (such as the philtrum, the vertical groove in the upper lip) and ’12 Librarians Who Became Famous’ (such as Mao Tse Tung and J Edgar Hoover)…

The current catalogue of Clas Ohlson, an amazing new shop in Newcastle...

365 - Your Date With History which, for each day of the year, describes unexpected or neglected events.  I bet you didn’t know that on this date (November 27) in 511AD a man called Clovis - regarded by the French as the founder of their country - died in Paris, aged 45.  He is so revered that a version of his name - Louis - was afterwards used by 18 French kings....Or that Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway today in 1582…

The Old Dog and Duck:  The Secret Meaning of Pub Names (a gift from Hildie).  Why, for example, are there so many pubs named after the Marquis of Granby?  Why are there three pubs in London called The Case Is Altered?  Why The Eagle and Child?

The Book of Insults
I love this book so much that I actually filched it from the toilet of my friend Brian, who has excellent taste in such things.

Here are some selections….

About Mohammad Ali..
He floats like an anchor and stings like a moth
About Clement Attlee….
He is a sheep in sheep’s clothing.

About Edward VII…
A corpulent voluptuary

About Eisenhower…
He is the only living Unknown Soldier

About the Queen…
She is frumpish and banal

About Gerald Ford…
He can’t fart and chew gum at the same time
About Charles de Gaulle…
He is like a female llama surprised in her bath
An artlessly sincere megalomaniac

About Gladstone…
He hasn’t a single redeeming defect

About Jerry Hall….
Try interviewing her sometime - it’s like talking to a window

About Katherine Hepburn…
She ran the whole gamut of emotions from A to B

About Hitler…
He is a bloodthirsty guttersnipe
About Mick Jagger….
He has big lips - I saw him suck an egg out of a chicken.  He can play the tuba from both ends.  He has childbearing lips…

About Lloyd George….
He couldn’t see a belt without hitting below it

About John McEnroe…
He was as charming as a dead mouse in a loaf of bread
About Robert Peel…
His smile was like the silver plate on a coffin

About composer Ethel Smyth…
It’s bad when they don’t perform her operas; when they do, it’s worse

About Margaret Thatcher…
She speaks to me as if my dog has just died

About Vaughan-Williams….
Listening to his Fifth Symphony is like staring at a cow for forty-five minutes

...and many more.  Perfect toilet reading matter, I think you’ll agree.

Oh - and Ulysses is in there, too.

I’d love to know what you read in your jakes.

Finally, here are two quotations that have taken Serge’s fancy recently.  Want to make  a stab at translating them?

Parle si tu as des mots plus forts que le silence, ou garde le silence.

L'humour est une façon de remettre en question les choses qu'on considère comme intouchables.

While you’re busy with those, here are some ‘random quotations’ sent to me by Lynne..

‘Just because that's what I said I want, doesn't mean to say that's what I want!’

‘After you get what you want, you don't want it.’

‘He's not the messiah - he's a very naughty boy.’

‘That's men for you; they promise you the world but all you really get is an A to Z of nowhere.’

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


Vivienne said...

Hi Folks!

A belated Happy Birthday Lawrence. I hope you had a fantastic day. xxx

I'm pleased you've changed the day of the Christmas AGM as, hopefully, I can now attend. I used to live quite near South Tyneside College so know the area well. It will be lovely to meet Kev at last. xxx

Ian Robinson said...


Val said...

Oh dear it let me sign in but lost my comment! Second time around it won't be as eloquent, and it's too late for my brain.

French translation with my limited vocabulary something like - Speak if you have louder words than silence - English equivalent, Silence Speaks Louder Than Words.

Humour is a way to question things which we consider untouchable. Can't think if there's anything different in English but it's very true.

Reading in the loo - is it a man thing? Although we always have a map or something on the inside of the door to the downstairs loo! Started as a way of covering 2 holes from former residents loo roll holder! When the kids were young it was educational posters. Such as what went on in a Roman bath house. We got sick of looking at that Roman scraping the dirt and sweat off his skin.
Currently map of Lake District - must move it down a bit I can only see Carnforth!