Sunday, December 31, 2006

IMG_1288So what will be the third thing?

First came the Christmas Day decapitation, now the New Year's Eve evisceration, so that leaves one more Neilish act of destruction still to occur. If dropping someone to a station in a hastily borrowed car (they drove out as they drive quicker), then driving back slowly because I don't really fit in the car, I'm not used to it, can't get the clutch right and because the nearest road to where the car lives has oil all the way down it (mixed with a damp road equals fun). Didn't hit anything on the road, turned off, messed up backing into the drive the car lives on, so the right hand wheels were on the lawn. And because it's been raining, the drive is well worn and somewhat algal and the tyres are coated with oil, the wheels on the drive gripped while those on the lawn slipped forward slightly, at which point the pair on the drive gave as the lawn two dug in, so the car twisted downhill towards the road. Rather than let it slide and plough its way across the lawn or sideswipe the hedge, I pushed the accelerator to try and force it back up the slope, which might have worked had I brought the clutch up enough (I'm not used to the not on its way out clutch, and I know that counts as very stupid, but it was instinctive). At which point there was a steering column versus knee conflict, letting the clutch came up on its own. If it were my car, it would have stalled; it wasn't, so it went back with a thudding. At this point I notice the dustbin weeble into view in the door mirror (did I mention the car is a convertible with a letter box for a rear window? And that I don't normally drive it or park there and completely forgot I needed to check for the dustbin, a state not helped by not seeing it at all). A post-Christmas, no recent collection dustbin, just beyond the top of the slope so where the going suddenly gets easier.

I drop down and straighten up and get out to check damage. There's a mark on the bumper and on the bin, but they don't matter. And then I notice the lights, helpfully arranged in the one big unit. Was that big crack, missing chip and starred bit there beforehand? Oh.

I stand trying to figure out the angles, as it shouldn't have been possible to hit that part of the car with that part of the bin. Unless the car was sitting low on the suspension (as it does; it hunkers down when the clutch is brought in), so the bumper hit the dustbin low down, with the bin pivoting round the bumper and a protruding, reinforced corner swung into the lights like a bell chiming. So actually, it's all the fault of whoever invented wheelie bin, as an old, round bin would have either crumpled or tipped and rolled, and certainly wouldn't have had the weight-bearing corner to act as an emergency escape hammer.

At least if it had been my car that light would already have been cracked (my father backed it into a JCB; I at least had the excuse of not being able to see the thing I hit. He's also tried driving through a Volvo when the entire family were screaming at him that it wouldn't fit; it didn't and I think we can conclude that Volvo trumps Renault).

And I thought sending the lower half a wine glass flying past my brother, when it wasn't even the bit of the glass I hit, had been impressive. It was during Christmas lunch, I had a full outbound wine glass in my right hand, empty incoming in my left; I hit the base of the full glass against the rim of the empty glass and the base and stem of the empty glass flew off. So now I have a very small cloche and probably shouldn't have been so slovenly as to swap full for empty when serving (I wasn't pouring, merely aiding).

But in other news I got through the first mostly strangers Christmassy gathering in ages were I did not become the centre of attention by virtue of my glass handling skills last night (previous soirées have seen me throw orange juice across the room and fling the glass to the ground unintentionally when unexpectedly touched; I think I might have been a bit nervous). Possibly this is because I was distracted by Danish delicacies (well, food as I'm not sure they do delicate), very aware of drinking red in a very new, clean and pale house and because I either put the glass down in the middle of any table or hid it deep in some cubbyhole. And because I was the only person under forty there, and so expected to stand quietly and not do a thing. And am I supposed to visibly relax when I see the hosts, who I'd never met before, are merrily serving on-offer-in-Sainsbury's wine? The prevalence of currently cheap in Sainsbury's items provided to guests has always been a secure indicator of get-on-ability through people-like-us-ness.

Worryingly at least fifty percent of the guests present were engineers, and another was an engine driver (well, Eurostar driver: cue tales of the stupidity of customers and the incompetence of the railways). Actually I probably hung near the Eurostar man most of all. Hearing the folly of the man who chose to get on the empty train when everyone else was getting on the Paris train on the other side of the platform, sat back, set up his laptop and then be taken nearly to the depot before realising all is not right was fairly entertaining. His rationale for choosing the not in service train? There were more seats on this one.

And apparently it's a favourite of American tourists to go down and sit in the lounge, not moving when called as they think the lounge is the train (they also think the hissing doored train loos are lifts to the other floors). Also the fog had an interesting effect on Eurostar as bewildering numbers of people thought airline tickets were also valid on a train (and then berated the staff for not letting them travel for free, not having the capacity to take everyone travelling to Europe and general other acts of perceived incompetence).

Then by a brief segue through the joys of Prague airport letting someone get on the wrong plane (I mean, Sofia and Bucharest are quite close) and the chaos than unleashed and back to Eurostar as apparently there's a four o'clock train from Notacity to Waterloo, which spends most of it's time not existing, being cancelled or being replaced by a single taxi, which is favourite of Eurostar drivers, and so leads the very Notacity scenes of people indignantly protesting when the staff at Notacity deny the very existence of the train, horrified at the idea that the disjointed and ill-managed local railway can scupper their plans to take the first train to Paris. Whereupon a stranger in their midst tells them not to worry too much about the Paris train, as he's meant to be driving the thing.

I've just realised I'm retelling someone else's anecdotes, but that's probably because I'm not sure what I've to say. I've got a couple of parties and the rest of Belgium to write about, but I strongly suspect none of you really give a damn (yes, I know I need an editor, or at least to highlight the funny bit, but it only works with the feed-in, but by the time I've finished that your eyes have glazed over and so you miss the one good line). And thinking of the things I used to write about, I'm a bit adrift in the world of ideas and decent thought, as the good blogs have faded or grown faster than my reading habits have, and the people blogs all seem to have been as erratic as I've been recently, or to have become more insular. So as a vaguely linked aside, go and cheer up Sinders (I'm not sure he'll be pleased with the Sinderella allusion, but it's that or Sinothy, and this way I get to try and guess if he is best reflected by Cinderella, Prince Charming, the pumpkin or the highly impractical footwear; perhaps the last is the third breakable and as it does not exist I have only destroyed it figuratively, so eliminating what it represents).

Think that better be it.


Is my name being taken in vain? How many cars have I crashed? None! None, I tell you! Okay, there was the minibus incident, but that hardly counts....

What? What about the two cars that were written off?

Yes, but I wasn't actually anywhere near them at the time.....

Thankfully, I know you're still alive from your flickr account. Incidentally, are you loading EVERY single photo from your camera in numeric order, just to show us peasants who haven't yet switched to digital SLR that it's impossible to take a bad shot with a Nikon?
Have you been on holiday for a fortnight? Or did it take you that long to make sense of the post?

Two unattended cars written off? What did you do to the other one then; leave it parked in Bosham?

And how come you're checking if I am yet living? You're the one who posted just as I was adding "Request for posts" to your "Request for help" thing.

Flickr: it's not every single one; DSC_1000 was a bit pants, hence not being there. I know my threshold for what makes it on there is a bit excessively influenced by what I want to comment on (although I don't think I've written "you can't see it in this, but there was..." underneath one yet), but there are some truly dismal shots that do not reach my adoring public (all three of them and one's only there to be pedantic about my pedantry).

And yes, perhaps they might be in numeric and hence chronological order, but that's just because if I break away from that I'll forget what I've done. And posting yet another picture of a tree three times might not go down too well.
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