29 Sep 2004

There was a poll commissioned recently to try and discover whether drivers still talked on their mobile phones whilst mobile in their vehicles. For those who missed the introduction of the new law to ban drivers physically holding a mobile phone as they motored along, which came into effect about five months ago, it does allow for the operating of hands-free kits. There is an on-the-spot fine to be levied at any driver caught talking or texting whilst they are in control of a moving vehicle, the idea being to dissuade people from holding a phone and a conversation whilst changing gear half-way around a busy roundabout and operating the indicator with a knee or a chin.

According to the poll only 35 percent of those asked have been deterred from breaking this law by the thirty pound fine. 80 percent said that they still regularly see a multitude of fellow road inhabitants use the phone whilst in motion. All of which goes to show that the ban has not been as effective as the police might have liked. To be honest I am not concerned with these results as all my attention has been employed elsewhere. I am more concerned with an emergent phenomenon whose existence can be directly linked to this ban and some people’s interpretation of it.

I spend a lot of my time driving around the small and diddy country lanes of Cornwall. You know the ones. High of hedge, narrow of girth and blind of corner. Such lanes are precarious enough even when you are familiar with them but have now become unpredictably lethal all thanks to the new phenomenon of "Law Abiding Mobile Phone Using Car Drivers" or LAM-PHUCERS.

Their phone rings and they pull over to answer it, as per the law. Now, I can only speculate as to what occurs in the cerebral vacuum of these motherfuckers to enable them to be satisfied with their decision to leave their car parked in the blind bit of a blind corner, with only the single token wheel on the grassy verge to distinguish them from medically insane people who actually might be found parked in the middle of a road. I have never had time to let my true feelings be known to these people as all my concentration is fully and rightly employed in making frantic evasive manoeuvres to steer my car around theirs. By the time I am safe and in a position to vent spleen it is too late, dammit. Turning their emergency lights on does not help in anyway either. It is too much Letter and not enough Spirit.

On the subject of lunacy, consider those vans and lorries that have stickers on their rears which casually ask you,"How’s my driving?" There is also a phone number to call, I imagine either to vent spleen or to slosh praise upon the vehicle’s driver. Surely these are now redundant and should be erased as to actually call the number you would be using your phone and therefore guilty of erroneous driving practices yourself. No, you cannot write it down and phone later either. Anyway, you are probably going to end up in the ditch after bouncing off the back of the suddenly braking lorry as your drive in very close proximity to it in order to read the phone number which some clever bastard has produced in font size 12.

My brilliant idea is to have a similar sticker on the boot of my van and when some officious twat calls the number to report my swerving and general dangerous driving, I shall answer my mobile, without pulling over, stick my hand out of the window, give them the finger and tell them over the phone that they are total fucking wankers.

27 Sep 2004

There have to be moments throughout life that are far more memorable than others. I had one of these on Saturday. It was raining and I was on the hockey pitch immersed in a competitive game of sticks and ball. Bude were winning and we had just been awarded a free hit on the edge of the ‘D’. Now might be a fine time to meander off into the intricacies of the rules and such but I do not have the mental impetus. This is what happened.

Allan stood over the ball, his stick raised, watching the attackers and defenders run around in circles in front of the goalkeeper and his goal. He was waiting to spy an opening through which he could launch the ball for someone to tap it into the goal. I had sauntered up from the halfway line mumbling to myself about how deplorable it was that nowadays a man could not have a stitch in peace. Just as I reached the 25 yard line Allan turned his knowledgeable head towards me and gave me a look. To many of the players on the pitch such a look would not have been understood and would have wondered off to the sidelines in disgust. However, both Allan and I have played hockey at a National level and this look spoke volumes. This is what it said:

“Hallo Bruce, how nice of you to join us up this end of the pitch. Everything OK? It’s just I was asking because I was wondering how you might feel about it if I were to push the ball into the ‘D’, hard enough to get past this malingering defender right here and timed to perfection so that you could run up and launch it into the goal. What do you reckon, old chum?”

Now I hadn’t been on the receiving end of such a look for years and so it threw me ever so slightly at first. I rallied my wits and sent back a look all of my own:

“I have to say that I am enamoured with said idea. It has the potential to open up this defence like a combine harvester would a melon. The time is now. Let’s have it!”

Allan passed the ball into the ‘D’ and directly into my path. At times like these you have the option to take a moment to stop the ball and then raise your stick for the killer blow. This method, although making the chances of an accurate shot more likely, does take time. Time in which the defenders can approach you waggling their sticks and closing you down. The quicker option is to hit the ball whilst it is still moving. Nine times out of ten you will end up in an embarrassed heap on the astro-turf with the ball off the pitch in the opposite direction to the goal. However, on Saturday my natural instinct was to rely upon my excellent hand-eye coordination and smack the living shit out of the speeding orange ball. Which I did.

There was the crack of my composite stick upon plastic ball. There was the sound of air molecules being ripped asunder by the supersonic passage of said ball, past the unseeing keeper’s head and into the top of the net. I watched the ball rocket into the goal. At this point I saw something that will live with me forever. The orange ball hit the net and as it did so all the water that was on the net exploded into a circular halo of droplets which hung motionless in the air. It was breathtaking. It was similar to the explosion that occurs after Luke has dropped his bomb into the exhaust pipe of the Death Star. Not wanting to get overly carried away I still find it easy to believe that all of creation held its breath for that split second. The whole of creation was only disturbed from its justified reverie by my erupting utterance.

Being normally such a couth young lad, public explosions of bad language are rather grating on my sensibilities. However, at this time as the wonderment of my actions became clear in my own mind, I felt the rising surge of profanity course up my spine. I could not fight it nor would I. One minute it was a consideration and then the next it was being shouted out for all and sundry to hear:

“Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatsfuuuuuuuuuuuckkkkinnnnnngggssssswwwweeeeeeet!”

And it was. I turned to Alan and we exchanged two more looks. His indicated the acknowledgement that we had just been part of one of the greatest goals ever to be scored on any hockey pitch ever, ever, ever, and that I had done jolly well to do so well. My reciprocal look was also an acknowledgement of his vision to make the pass in the first place and also conveyed a general sense of “Kerist, how bloody good are we, eh?!”

That’s all. It was fucking sweet. It deserved this entry. I do not apologise for my arrogance one bit. It was fucking sweet, almost beyond words, you had to be there, why wasn’t someone filming it, it changed my life, cured my hay fever, introduced my future wife, painted the shed and made a little halo out of water droplets.

20 Sep 2004

Right, well Brucie has been busy. I have done very little over the summer months, as is only right and proper, and as the evenings draw in and late evening beach fires and other such malarkey become a hazy glowing memory, I find myself stirring into action. With everything in this world being relative, one way or another, it can be pointed out that my 'action' could quite well be another man’s twenty year coma but, as I said, everything is relative so my efforts are still to be appreciated.

I have found a bungalow which is a 55 second amble from the Atlantic. This bungalow has a jacuzzi, sauna and pool table. This bungalow is the bomb and very nicely priced. Bruce shall be sharing this domicile with Jack the Dentist and Willem the Woodsman both of whom are immersed in long-term relationships with two lovely ladies. It was this state of affairs that almost caused the first in-house argument before we’d even moved into the house as everybody wanted a double bed. I had viewed the property and had discovered that there were only two double beds as the other two bedrooms had only singles. Jack and Will proposed that as they both had girlfriends and I was a philandering hound dog, their need for an enlarged bedding area was superior to mine. I was stymied for a moment as this chain of logic seemed impenetrable. However I quickly devised the argument that as I did not have a long-term honey my need for the means with which to obtain one were superior to theirs. Somehow, however, they were unable to accept this. We then put our heads together as to how we could settle this issue.

Poker, pool, paper-scissor-stone were all considered. Then the idea of a test of stamina was batted about; who could stay in the sauna the longest got first choice. As we were discussing this in the pub somehow I managed to come up with the truly superb idea of pouring vodka over the hot stones rather than tame ol’H20. We settled on this despite worries that emerged later about possible flammability issues. I have no idea if neat but cheap vodka would ignite on contact with red-hot elements. Anyway, it was all for nought as I had, somehow, managed to overlook the third double bed. Personally I am quite disappointed that our potentially lethal vodka-sweat-session probably shall not happen.

I have done other stuff as well but as I sit here this evening I find myself consumed by pure, raw apathy and I cannot be arsed to continue with this blog.



17 Sep 2004

I have just arrived back. The drizzle is exploding into steam on the bonnet of my car and under the hood the engine is creaking and slowly cooling after powering itself and I the two hundred miles from the airport. Things have changed since I left several months ago. I just need a minute to grasp this. Bear with me for I shall return shortly.

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