Thursday, February 17, 2005

I Get Around *

Taking advantage of some time off work by doing...absolutely nothing. Well, nothing productive (i.e. housework, etc etc etc) anyway. Did go for a spin round the neighbourhood on my bike this morning. And it wasn't an insignificant little jaunt, but, in going up Telegraph Hill twice, did involve a great deal of effort, stamina and muscle power. And I failed on all three counts as I couldn't quite manage to get to the top first time round, but did achieve getting all the way to the summit on my next attempt. Okay, Telegraph Hill is no Alp d'Huez (one of the toughest in the Tour de France) but it must be one of the highest points in south east London. It was also the scene of a very unfortunate accident around 18 months ago when a drunken idiot went out on his son's scooter. This drunken idiot first of all thought that it wouldn't be a good idea to come down hill on the scooter. But this drunken idiot, being a drunken idiot, thought: "Fuck it!" So the drunken idiot went fleeing down the hill on scooter, hit something on the path and then had to be taken to hospital with facial cuts, lacerations all over arms and legs (it was summer, the drunken idiot was wearing shorts and t-shirt) and a huge bruised ego. Yes, that drunken idiot was me!

I digress. Where was I? Oh, yes, Telegraph Hill. Used to live on the hill, but got chucked out by landlord around eight years ago. Best thing that ever happened to us as we then fell on our feet with much nicer house and smaller rent. I cycled past the old house on my jaunt and felt no emotions about the place whatsoever.

Also cycled past an old friend's house - her daughter and the boy were great buddies - a house we went to for Sunday lunch one time and, as we sat round the table saw Ronnie Corbett come out of next door neighbour's house and all of us just roared with laughter. No idea why this would make us all convulse with the giggles at exactly the same moment as each other, but the fact is that it did. It reminded me of a few weeks ago when I was walking through town and, as I passed The Ivy restaurant, noticed that the bloke from Super Size Me (Morgan Spurlock??) was being photographed outside with apple stuck in his mouth. Thought nothing of it other than: "Well, these things happen in London."

My journey took me past one of my local pubs, the excellent Marquis of Granby, which was the subject of this article in the Guardian recently, being, as it is, situated on what is regarded as the noisiest road in Britain. This junction is where the A2 going out of London meets the A20 coming into London. It's a wonderful pub, with its clientele being a mixture of working class first and second generation Irish, locals, a small band of Jocks (myself included) and a large smattering of students from Goldsmiths College across the road. One character who frequents the Marquis is that defrocked Jesuit priest who has disrupted sporting events such as the British Grand Prix a couple of years back and the marathon at the Athens Olympics. He's nuts, obviously! Comes into the pub and plonks himself down in front of the television, doesn't buy a drink and doesn't talk to anyone.

Cycled past the amazingly interesting Nunhead Cemetery - used to go for nice walks around here with 'er indoors years ago. Among the stones in this cemetery is one dedicated to The Scottish Martyrs - Maurice Magarot, Thomas Muir, Thomas Fyshe Palmer, William Skirving and Joseph Gerrald - whose case inspired Robert Burns to write Scots Wha Hae. These men (only three of whom were Scottish, by the way) were deported to Australia towards the end of the 18th century after being found guilty of sedition - i.e. patriots campaigning for an independent Scotland. The cemetery also houses a huge crumbling gothic church. It must be said that you could do a lot worse than pay a visit to this place.

And then it was home. But, before I go, let me describe an episode from earlier in the week when I had gone to Greenwich Park for a kickabout with the boy and his mate. I must say at the outset that I didn't realise that one's sexuality is measured in terms of how irritating one gets when a dog slobbers all over your football, but I was wrong. Well, this is according to the woman who told me to "stop acting like a poof" as I told her to keep her dog under control as it had its big stupid mouth all over our football. Oh, and I was also a "wuss," according to this woman.

Sympathy for me, being the innocent party here, from the boys? No way. Much hilarity ensued as they derided me, calling me "a poof" at every given opportunity and generally took the piss out of me. It was hilarious, even with them having fun at my expense.

* The Beach Boys


Anonymous Messalina said...

I must look up Nunhead Cemetery in my book of London Cemeteries to see who else of note lies buried there. I enjoyed experiencing the tale of the Telegraph Hill Twat again. Dog owners can be so forgiving of their pets' disgusting behaviour, they don't realise what it's like for the rest of us.

9:40 am  
Blogger John said...

Excellent story, Reidski. Sorry I missed it first time round.

My better half is a direct descendant of Thomas Bellew McManus, one of the Young Irelanders who was transported to Australia in 1848, whence he escaped to the States. When he died they brought his body back to Dublin and his funeral cortege was the largest in Irish history.

Probably spinning in his grave at one of his descendants marrying a Brit, mind you.

10:09 am  
Blogger Reidski said...

Is the Telegraph Hill twat me? And, John, when you say excellent story, do you mean the scooter incident?
If the answer to both questions is yes, why do you two only concentrate on the "isn't-Reidski-an-idiot" section of the story rathern than the rest of this great narrative?

1:28 pm  
Blogger Darren said...

"If the answer to both questions is yes, why do you two only concentrate on the "isn't-Reidski-an-idiot" section of the story rathern than the rest of this great narrative?"

Aye, but it is because of your self-deprecation that we love you. ;-)

1:36 pm  
Anonymous Messalina said...

In fact, the reason for calling your blog 'The Big Blowdown' has been lost in the mists of time and 'Isn't-Reidski-an-idiot' is a pretty good alternative :>*

2:11 pm  
Blogger John said...

I only mentioned the wife's ancestors in reference to your description of the cemetery, you idiot. I don't go around telling everyone.

Well, alright, I do, but you gave me the perfect opportunity.

Was it a motorised scooter, by the way, or a pedal one? I want to get this image straight in my mind.

2:24 pm  
Blogger Jim said...

I thought that I had your photographic memorabilia of the event and then I remembered that it was on my old hard drive which is now sadly defunct.

Then I remembered that I posted it onto a Fotolog that I brief fling with prior to Blogger lettingyou have photos.

Then I remembered that I took the link off my own weblog, once I could incorporate photos directly.

The I remembered that they sent me an email recently so I should be able to find the address after all


3:21 pm  
Blogger John said...

Ouch! You have my sympathies, Reidski.

But, really, one shouldn't be able to find pictures like that on the Web.

3:32 pm  
Blogger Reidski said...

Now, Jim, that is well below the belt. No-one wanted to see the photographic evidence of said accident.
For your info, John, it was a kiddies non-motorised scooter.
In fact, I think I'll post a longer description of the day in question later tonight.

3:49 pm  
Blogger Jim said...

Whassamatter, can't indulge in a bit of schadenfreude? You can atke it off if you like. The link taht is, I have no idea fo the password to take it off the fotolog.

12:56 pm  

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