Swimming Lesson 3

June 20th 2006

The system employed by the local leisure centre to teach ten-year-olds to swim is to first kit out him or her with inflatable arm and leg bands. Having been made buoyant little Brad or Jennifer is then fitted with a shoulder harness attached to a long length of rope. The child then gets in the water and is gently towed across the width of the pool by the instructor whilst simulating the arm and leg movements of the breast stroke. The idea is that over a period of time the child will become less and less dependant on the arm and leg bands, and the harness and tow rope, and will eventually be able to swim unaided.

This is the system now being employed by our swimming instructor, Miss Hobday, to instruct our dwarf, Mr Leeson. Naturally while she is towing Mr Leeson to and fro across the pool she can’t be instructing the seven non-dwarfs in her class, who are left to their own devices. Miss Hobday apologised in advance for this but said there was nothing she could do about it, that another instructor couldn’t be spared, they didn’t grow on trees, and that she had been told by her superiors to devote half her time to teaching Mr Leeson to swim by the ten-year-olds method, and the other half to teaching the rest of us to swim by the normal method.

One of the normal method men, Mr Hall, said that this was patently unfair as there were seven non-dwarfs in our group and only one dwarf, and that to be fair our hour’s instruction should be split up in the ratio 7.1, seven parts going to the normals and one part to the dwarf.

Mr Leeson said that would mean this would give him only seven and a half minutes instruction time per session while the rest of us would have fifty two and a half minutes, which was not only clearly unfair but discrimination against dwarfs.

Before Miss Hobday could make a ruling on this the fat fuck Mr Liddiard complicated matters by saying that he too wanted to be treated like a ten-year-old and be kitted out with arm and leg bands and towed across the pool by Miss Hobday.

There is a little history with Mr Liddiard and Miss Hobday, inasmuch as just before the session was about to begin Mr Liddiard took it upon himself to jump in the pool again, despite having been warned not to do this after what happened to me during our first lesson. Fortunately no one was in the pool this time so nobody was in danger of being drowned, but the resultant splash drenched Miss Hobday, who was standing poolside, transforming her neatly-ironed white top and shorts into saturated and see-through top and shorts, and her neatly coiffed hair into a bedraggled mess. This could well explain what she then said to Mr Liddiard, when he asked to be treated like a ten-year-old and be kitted out with arm and leg bands and towed across the pool, which was, and I quote: “If I can get hold of a four Goodyear blimps for your arm and leg bands and a ten ton lorry in which to tow you across the pool I will do that: in the meantime you’ll have to stay with the others.”

Three of us, including me, applauded her. The man with the glass eye, Mr Pargeter, and the man with the hump back, Mr Gearing, laughed out loud, but then both had axes to grind, Mr Liddiard having previously referred to them, within their hearing, as Cat’s Eye and Quasimodo.

Mr Liddiard, red-faced and fuming, left the scene without a word, and that was the last we saw of him.  Five minutes before the scheduled end of the lesson, Miss Hobday was summoned to the office. Ominously, we didn’t see her again either.

Farewell You Twat

June 19th 2006

“It won’t feel a thing,” said Atkins Down The Road reassuringly.
“I don’t give a monkey’s if it does feel a thing,“ I replied. “In fact I would prefer it to feel a thing after all the pain it’s given me with its infernal barking and howling these past few days.”
We were discussing the proposition that Atkins should end the Pollitt’s dog’s life with a bullet from his .22 rifle.
“That apart though there’s the question of the aftermath to consider,” I went on. “I doubt if Pollitt, his fright of a wife, and his horrible offspring, collectively have the brainpower of a backward fruit bat, but even so I fear that one of them just might suspect their dog didn’t die of natural causes once they see a bullet hole in it.”
Atkins chewed on this for a moment or two, then said: “There wouldn’t be a bullet hole if I shot it up the arsehole.”
A chink of light appeared. “You could do that?”
He shrugged. “Maybe. However, crack shot that I am, and being completely honest about it, I couldn’t absolutely guarantee it. It’s possible we could end up with a dog with two arseholes.”
The chink of light disappeared. “In that case forget it. The Pollitts would be no less suspicious if they found it dead and that in the act of dying it had sprouted another arsehole than they would be if they’d found it with a bullet hole in it.”
The above conversation took place this morning when I was looking for ways to bring the You Twat situation to a satisfactory conclusion. Satisfactory to me that is. The other options I considered were –
(a) Make another attempt to take You Twat for a walk.
(b) Render it more or less constantly asleep by tossing it a sleeping pill –spiked meatball every morning.
(c) Render it permanently asleep by adding poison to one of the spiked meatballs.
(d) Adopt Fatfiz’s ploy of kicking it in the bollocks (To gain its respect I suppose, although he wasn’t specific on this).
(e) Move house.
(f) Pay for the Pollitts to move house.
After much thought I decided that (a) was a non-starter because of what happened the last time I tried to do this; (b) would be too expensive: (c) would be the ideal solution but would make me a murderer: (d) would be a solution but might make You Twat a murderer: (e) would be too inconvenient: and (f) the Pollitts would probably laugh at me, and even if they didn’t I couldn’t afford it.
In the end I went for simplicity and decided to simply turn You Twat loose. There’s an excellent that it will get lost simply because as it has never been anywhere it won’t know the way back.
I feel no guilt about this whatsoever. For what sort of existence must it be, condemned to life imprisonment tied to a clothes stump all day every day? Better for the dog to be given the chance to roam free. With a bit of luck someone will find it, take pity on it, and give it a good home. And even if they don’t and it has to fend for itself surely that’s a better life than the one it’s had up to now.
Later I went into the Pollitts back garden, made sure no one saw me, set You Twat loose, and opened the back gate for it. It shot out of it and down the road like shit off a shovel. For good, in more than one sense of the word, I hope.

The Nation’s Favourite

June 18th 2006

Once again I have been lumped together with all the rest of the population of Britain and informed that someone is my favourite something or other. You know the sort of thing, you see it in the newspapers all the time – ‘Trevor McDonald, the nation’s favourite newscaster’, ‘Cilla Black, the nation’s favourite auntie’, ‘Sean Connery, the nation’s favourite Scotsman’. Not forgetting of course the one we used to get once a week on average, ‘The Queen Mother, the nation’s favourite granny’.

I once read that Michael Barrymore was ‘the nation’s favourite funnyman’, but I doubt very much he was the favourite of the poor sod who died in his swimming pool, or that the poor sod thought what happened to him was funny.

This time it is Cliff Richard, who I am informed is ‘the nation’s favourite oldie’. Well I am a member of our nation and he certainly isn’t my favourite oldie. I know a lot of oldies who I prefer to Cliff Richard. In fact I know a lot of Richards who I prefer to Cliff Richard – Keith Richards, Viv Richards, Little Richard, Richard Branson being just four of them. Nor is Trevor McDonald my favourite newscaster (John Suchet), my favourite auntie Cilla Black (my Auntie Annie) nor Sean Connery my favourite Scotsman (Billy Connolly).

And the Queen Mother was certainly not my favourite Granny. In fact had there been ten million grannies resident in Britain when the Queen Mother’s extravagances were still a drain on the taxpayer then she would have been my ten millionth favourite granny, and only then because there weren’t ten million and one grannies, even if the additional granny had been Granny ‘Chainsaw Anna’ Hargreaves.



Britain’s Favourite Blogger

Driving Me Mad

June 17th 2006

I dialled the freephone number I’d seen on the back of the lorry, the number I’d been invited to ring if I had anything I wished to say about the manner in which the vehicle was being driven.

“Well Driven,” said the young woman on the other end of the line. “How may I help you?”

Well you can start by not spouting a load of transatlantic claptrap when answering the phone, I thought, but satisfied myself by giving her my name and the registration number of the lorry in question, and to inform her that I wished to talk about it.

“Is it a complaint?” she said.

“Well of course it’s a complaint,” I said testily, Captain Mainwaring to her Private Pike, “Why else would I be ringing?”

“Some people call to praise the driver’s driving,” she replied, in a tone that implied that this remarkable claim should have been obvious to me.

“Pull the other one,” I said.

“They do,” she pouted, then added, a note of defiance in her voice: “Nearly ten per cent of the calls we receive are in praise of our lorry drivers.”

“As many as that?” 

“Yes as many as that.” 

“They’ll be from the lorry drivers”.

This stopped her in her tracks for a moment, this possibility obviously never having occurred to her, but then she saw a flaw in my argument. “Many of the calls in praise of the lorry drivers are from women.”

“The drivers’ wives,” I said. “Or bits on the side. Now are you ready to listen to my complaint or are you going to confirm to me that many of the calls you receive in praise of lorry drivers are from little green men from Mars?”

The phone went silent for a moment, then: “What do you wish to complain about it?”

“That’s more like it,” I said, “We’re slowly getting there. The driver of the lorry in question. He didn’t cut me up.”

“Didn’t cut you up?”

“When he passed me. Nor, before passing me and not cutting me up, did he travel behind me for about five miles with a gap of no more than three yards between us – tailgating I think you call it – honking his horn continuously and flashing his headlights.”

“He’s not supposed to do that!”

“I know he isn’t.  Especially as I was travelling at dead on the speed limit of forty miles-per-hour and for him to overtake me would have meant him breaking the speed limit, and the law along with it.”

She thought about this for a moment before asking: “So why are you complaining then?”

“Not so fast. Kindly allow me to list all my complaints before we discuss what you intend, if anything, to do about them.” I went on. “When he passed me and I honked my horn at him your driver didn’t slam on his brakes, climb angrily out of his cab, advance on me rolling up his sleeves and threaten to duff me up. There, that is my complaint in full. Now you can tell me what you intend to do about it.”

“Do about what? He didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I know. But I was expecting him to do something wrong, wasn’t I. At the very least I expected him to tailgate me for about five miles, honking his horn continuously and flashing his headlights, even if he didn’t see fit to cut me up after he’d passed me, slam on his brakes, climb angrily out of his cab, advance on me rolling up his sleeves and threaten to duff me up. I mean I’m not used to being treated like that by HGV drivers, it completely disorientated me. You could tell how badly it affected me, I had to pull in at a Little Chef for a coffee, and you have to be in a pretty bad way to do that, at their prices.”

Now here’s the situation. At one end of the phone line you have a young woman who, by her own admission, spends over ninety per cent of her day listening to calls from angry car drivers about bad lorry drivers. At the other end of the line you have a caller who is trying his level best to bring a little fun into her life, a little light relief to help her through what must be a truly distressing day. You would think that the young woman would appreciate it, wouldn’t you. You’d be wrong.

“It’s a pity you’ve got nothing better to do than waste people’s time,” she said, and hung up on me.

Actually I agree with her, but most of the things that are better to do cost money, and with just old age and retirement pensions to live on nowadays I have to take my enjoyment where I can find it.