Posts by grahamwalker1

Pool Side

Posted on September 24, 2019

The Hippo The large, fat man sat by the pool slurping his glass of beer and chatting up the young Vietnamese waitress. He downed the contents quickly, stood at the water’s edge and launched himself headfirst. He disappeared and I thought that he had had a heart attack and I would have to dive in and rescue him. Instead, he emerged at the other end, raised his head and shook it like a dog cleaning itself. He then swam back with a half breaststroke, his face partially submerged and his mouth gulping in air sideways. He reminded me of a hippo moving effortlessly through the water searching for food, its ears twitching. He climbed out, pulled his shorts over his sagging belly and moved…

Bottoms Up

Posted on September 18, 2019

  A colleague of mine recently showed me a catalogue with a new toilet from a German manufacturer. It was called the Balena 8000 Shower Toilet- for daily freshness and comfort and had a shower arm that emitted a spray of fresh water at body temperature to your backside, then a warm jet of air to dry you. The arm then retracted and was cleaned with disinfectant before the next user. Presumably this dispensed with the need for toilet paper and hand washing and made this device extremely eco-friendly. This is the latest example of man’s endless ingenuity in developing more and more sophisticated ways of carrying out our most basic needs. In Austria and Switzerland, their preoccupation with anal cleanliness has resulted in…

Open Wide

Posted on September 18, 2019

I have always had a pathological fear of dentists and dread the sound of drilling as you flick through your copy of Hello in the waiting room. It all goes back to my childhood when our school would file into the state dentist near the bus station in the centre of St. Helens. Being Walker, I was always at the back of a long line of lads all equally terrified by the site of limp, ashen faced boys staggering out of the surgery at the end of the corridor, blood pouring from their mouths. By the time my turn came, I was almost rigid and dreaded the door opening. There was no smile, no welcoming hand, just a large dentist, wearing a mask with…

Can you swim?

Posted on September 18, 2019

I approached the large, oak-panelled doors with trepidation, my legs shaking and my three-inch Cuban-heeled boots almost propelling me headlong. A shaft of light hit me as I entered and approached the large wooden table where dark figures were silhouetted against the backdrop of Churchill and Anthony Eden and Downing Street beyond. As my eyes re-adjusted, I saw that they were mostly elderly, late 50s or so, wore dark, black suits and were exploring my every feature. I tried to control the mounting panic. The man who had led me in sat to my right and started to take copious notes. These were the Governors of the remnants of the British Empire now reduced to small colonies or protectorates in Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Turks…

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Posted on October 12, 2016

    I was in high spirits when I signed up for the bicycle tour but regretted it immediately. Only 9 kms she said, a nice lunch and a boat ride back. Sure that you don’t want the full, all day trip of 20 kms in the mountains. Much better for man like you. I knew that it was double the price and the temperature was due to climb to over 40 on the next day. I shook my head politely. A quadruple bypass, a new titanium hip and endless other scars were testament to man who should be starting to take it easy in life. Not cycling in the midday sun in Vietnam.   I woke early, did my stretches and squats and…

Dorsoduro, Venice

Posted on August 24, 2013

In the high season, Venice’s population doubles and the log jam on the main thoroughfares becomes almost unbearable, as thousands of tourists clog the alleyways between the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco. A short walk over the Ponte dell’Accademia crossing the Grand Canal, however, provides an escape route into one of the most enduring and increasingly fashionable districts of La Serenissima, Dorsoduro. Somewhat euphemistically translated as ‘high ridge’, it juts out from San Polo and lies to the South of San Marco with its tip almost opposite the Doge’s Palace. It also embraces two islands across the canal to the south, Giudecca and the less fashionable, Sacca Fisola. Ambiance What I adore about this district is its bohemian atmosphere, its relative tranquillity and its mix of students…

Mallorca, Spain

Posted on August 24, 2013

  I had only visited MAJ-ORCA once before in 1988 in the company of our five teenage children, foolishly believing that we would have a quiet family holiday by the sea. Was I mad? The holiday turned into a nightmare with the flight overbooked and packed to the gunnels and the resort resembling Stalag 7 with the family scattered around clay huts that would not have been out of place in rural Africa. The sound of karaoke every night, evening meals of fish and chips, chicken and chips and the occasional spag boll did little to endear me to the island and I swore I would never return again. In search of rest and recovery after an operation had gone seriously wrong, I was…