Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Back to normal

THE roads are still quiet, but otherwise it's pretty much back to normal after an excellent Christmas break.
I think I may have found a new career for myself at the Totnes Christmas market. I am going to live on a commune in Dunkeswell, grown a beard and bake bread. That seems to be what these chaps do, and they look well on it.

Their bread is great, their beards are bushy and they all appear stress-free and serene. I'm signing on.
Elsewhere, there was ice aplenty, and the Caerphilly Kid's significant other, Rachel, fell and broke her wrist badly on a patch of ice about 50 yards down the road from us.
With the Kid out fearlessly delivering Her Majesty's Royal Mail in conditions of Arctic cold, we drove her to hospital, picking our way between crashed cars and sliding pedestrians as we did so.
Mrs H had her knee operation cancelled because the surgeon was stuck out in the sticks somewhere.
Alan even had to cancel our traditional Christmas Eve club run because of the ice, so we retired to a house of plentiful refreshment for a fried breakfast instead.
After a perfect Christmas Day with family and fine food, the Boxing Day Dip beckoned, and five fearless runners took the plunge.

Then it was Daughter of Caerphilly Kid's 18th birthday party, with Neil, younger son of Bazza and brother of Tom Down Under, performing DJ duties. It is a small world indeed.
I was in dancing mode, with several pints of cider on board, but Mrs H has been under the weather and didn't throw as many shapes as we might have liked. And not even a blast of vintage Abba could get Mr Fangio onto the parquet flooring.
Bob Sinclar's 'Love Generation' saw me in full arm-swinging soft-shoe shuffling mode. Click here for a great tune. Your arms will be swinging too.
Bank Holiday brought a long dog walk and an extraordinary lunch courtesy of Nanna and DIY Dave. Reg and Baxter drove one another to distraction while we dined on Nanna's wonderful cooking.
And so back to work. Happy holidays, and New Year still to come...

Monday, 21 December 2009

Festivities and humbug

IT'S all very festive.
Downstairs Mrs H is slaving away over a hot laptop, doing an assignment of some sort. Younger Daughter is having a nap, having started work at stupid o'clock this morning. All you can see of Reg the Jack Russell is his backside sticking out from under Younger Daughter's blanket. He is not for moving.
Older Daughter is still in Bristol, where it has by all accounts been snowing and looking lovely.
I have taken advantage of the break to wrap some presents. As usual they look as if they have been stuck together by a myopic orang-utan with his digits taped together.
Last night we joined Mrs H's mum and dad at the carol service at their church, and most convivial it was, too.
This is a church built in the middle of a bustling main street, so it always looks busy even when it isn't. It was full last night and the minister was very welcoming, particularly as he only sees us once a year.
On Christmas Eve the vicar down at our nearest church will see us for the one and only time this year, too.
They must get quite peeved at the people who only ever turn up for carols, especially when, like us, they spread their favours from one code to the other willy-nilly.
Anyway, Mrs H's dad, with whom you would be unwise to dispute territory, bagged a table and a large plate of mince pies in the middle of the church hall afterwards for the assembled family members.
It was all extremely friendly and festive.
It was a bit less festive at Oldway Mansion this afternoon where we lost the opening skirmish in the Battle for Paignton Green.
Torbay Council have granted planning permission for a big play park on the Green, which means the 2010 Paignton Regatta could be the last of its kind. If we carry on after that, it will be on a much smaller scale.
More than 160 years of tradition may be lost if the National Lottery now comes up with the cash for the play park.
There was plenty of good debate from both sides, and then the four Tories voted for the play park, and the three non-Tories voted against it.
We could all have saved an hour of our lives if we had only looked at the make-up of the committee in advance. We were done over by the party whip, and it was always going to be so.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Bananaman cometh...

IT was cold down on the prom tonight, where the Tuesday night crew assembled for training.
Alan had planned a pyramid of sprints between the lamp-posts, gradually stretching out to the furthest one and then winding back down again. A couple of minutes rest, then repeat.
It was tough, and cold, but back in the car park our beloved coach appeared with a Santa sack full of goodies. I got a banana.
Now I have hiccups. I never get hiccups.
Maybe I will be one of those people who has hiccups for 30 years. Maybe they will stop in 10 minutes. I will keep you posted.
Meanwhile, I blame Bananaman.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

You're a brave man, Mr Fangio

Today Mr Fangio joined the Dangerous Sports Club.
Because along with hang-gliding, skeleton luge and base jumping, taking the mickey out of Fangio's driving certainly ranks right up there.
You know that advert where the bloke goes white-water canoeing down some foreign cataract and breaks his leg, then the emergency services fish him out and everywhere you look you see the bill mounting up? Well, alongside that bloke in the other cot in the air ambulance is Mr Fangio.
What Mr Fangio did was this. Over on our sister blog, the Reg Skoda Advent Calendar I posted a clip of the start of the Le Mans 24-hour race, taken from the Steve McQueen film.

Bloggers with longer memories may recall that Mr Fangio was nicknamed thus after his wife attracted the attentions of a speed camera while driving like Dick Dastardly through the quiet back streets of Paignton. Hence she became known as Fangio.
I have mentioned this to her once or twice and I think I have got away with it up to now.
But Mr Fangio may not be so lucky.
He commented on the clip, saying: "This is what it is like every time she gets into the car". Or words to that effect.
Now, Fangio is a lovely lady, a fine, upstanding member of the Higher Paignton community, a women of peace and inner tranquility.
Or let's hope so for the sake of the latest member of the Dangerous Sports Club...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Christmas is coming...where are the geese?

IT was quiet down by the farm as we walked Reg.
There is a farm tucked down behind the pitch and putt course at Elberry. It's incongruous there, on the edge of the holidaymakers' favourite beach, but it reminds you that there is more to life than buckets and spades and rash vests with 'Surf Dude' written on them.
Whenever you walk past the farm there is a cacophony of squabbling geese, all strutting around the yard looking for food and trying to pick a fight.
It's a great noise, but you can't hear it now.
The yard is silent and empty.
The geese have all gone somewhere, and no good will come of it for them. None of them is coming back.
If the farmer didn't send his geese off to slaughter so you lot can eat them, he wouldn't have a farm or a livelihood, and he'd have to get a job selling buckets and spades and rash vests with 'Surf Dude' written on them. Fair enough.
But as the old song goes, 'It doesn't make it all right'.