Posts from the “Uncategorized” Category

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…

A Night at the Opera, Verona

Posted on June 21, 2012

Verona is famous for its music and especially its opera, which takes place in the former Roman amphitheater, L’Arena, next to the Piazza Bra in the center of this beautiful city. A venue more renowned for gladiatorial combat and games (ludi), it has been transformed into one of the wonders of the world, with over 50 performances every season running from June to September. The 2012 season includes Don Giovanni, Aida, Carmen, Romeo and Juliette, Turandot and Tosca.  Here are some tips that will help you in preparation for the performance you might attend. Arriving to the opera performance The sheer vastness of the setting in the huge circular amphitheater packed with 14,000 spectators, all sitting in the open air, creates the most mesmeric of atmospheres. It’s…