WHAT YOU'LL FIND ON THIS BLOG

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Evidence that going The Long Way can be useful for your education

I have been walking the long way to work (like, the fifteen minute route rather than the eleven minutes and thirty seconds route yah boo to all you poor commuters stuck in traffic).  The short way is the murderer-inhabited dark and lonely passage I have told you about.  The long way is down the main road and past the shops and there are lights.

Why have I been going the long way, I don't hear you ask, but you're going to be told anyway.  Because it's been raining persistently for a week and the short way is now a mire into which I could sink and no one would ever know (and I wouldn't be able to hear the cheers from those who diss my song list posts, mentioning no names but she rhymes with Cheek! Oh!).

During my walks round the long way, I have learned some stuff.

Lesson 1. Temptation from the fish and chip shop is remarkably easy to resist at 7.45 in the morning when it's shut anyway and you've just had a little bit of bowl of porridge the size of the Pacific Ocean.  At 5.45 in the evening, on the way back home, when the shop is open, and it smells SO good, and your porridge is just a distant memory, and it's lashing down with rain so you feel you deserve a treat, it's either cross the road and walk on the other side with your eyes closed and your nostrils pinched with a peg, or it's buy the chips and try and snaffle them before you get home when the husband serves up your veggie burger and mashed potato thinking you're a poor hungry worker.  (And no hello kisses in case he smells the vinegar on your breath or tastes salt on your lips.  These can't be explained away easily, unless you're going to claim you were mugged and debauched by a giant pickled herring on the way back.)

Lesson 2. There are three kinds of drivers where puddles and pedestrians are concerned.  Driver 1 spots the puddle near where you're walking, waits for oncoming traffic, then edges around the puddle.  Wave thank you at this kind.  Driver 2 isn't really looking and so it's not until he's splashed you that he realises and puts up an apologetic hand as he passes you.  Don't wave thank you at these drivers, but don't make any rude gestures either.  Driver 3 is actually looking for people to splash, and people who wear red coats can be seen from miles away, and planned for.  This driver plays a little game with himself called 'can-i-splash-her-so-the-water-reaches-chest-height?'  He often wins.  Make whatever gestures you like at this kind of driver, but if his brake lights go on and the car slows and pulls in, dash into the nearest garden and hide - as well as you can in your postbox coat, you blithering idiot - under a bush.

Lesson 3. Umbrella-etiquette is not yet a British skill.  When you're walking on a narrow pavement with an umbrella the size of a hot air balloon, and you see someone coming the other way with a similar umbrella, you have to make some kind of decision.  Dipping your umbrella to the left is one option, but when it snags on a bush and brings you to a sudden halt, you are going to look a fool.  Or worse, you may find you have stabbed an innocent little birdie that was in the bush, and when you have just been miraculously healed by birdies, that's not kind.  Dipping your umbrella to the right so that it hangs into the road in front of a passing goods truck is not a great option either unless you are happy for it to travel to Sweden on the truck's bonnet leaving you to arrive at work looking like an old mop.  Forging on ahead so that you meet the other umbrellee head-on is another option, but unless you are three foot six and they are seven foot nine, you're not going to reach a happy compromise.  One of you is going to have to take action.  One other possibility is, as you get near the other umbrellee, to shout, 'Oh, I'm SO glad it's stopped raining', so that they think they look silly and put their umbrella down.  Then you can squeeze past them with your hot air balloon still up and run like hell.

I have history when it comes to telling people to put their umbrellas down, though, so be warned.

Hm.  Maybe if I carried one of THESE, the other umbrellee would hurriedly cross the road anyway ........

23 comments:

  1. I have a patent pending that involves the rim of an umbrella being studded with razor blades so that the user can spin in and cut a swathe through any crowd. It's been refused 5 times but I can't think why. Maybe I need to paint a smiley face on it to make it more user friendly?

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  2. Why am I having trouble separating Gene Kelly and pickled herring?

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  3. Speaking from the other side of the pond, I can say with confidence that absence of umbrella etiquette is not confined to the UK.

    Singin' in the Rain . . . ing Acorns here . . .

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  4. So, we're 'uninterested apathetic losers', but we're supposed to care if you disappear into the swamp....
    Inflatable umbrellas?

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  5. Steve - perhaps you could just use a scythe until you get it agreed?

    Martin - I'm pickling in the rain, just pickling in the rain ...

    Raining Acorns - I'm glad to hear it. Do Americans need umbrellas? i thought they didn't walk anywhere?

    Vintage - did I sound harsh? Oh dear. It's stress.

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  6. What's wrong with a good old-fashioned cagoule with hood? I thought that they were the rainwear of choice on these islands. Or a pretty see-through plastic mac? One of the smelly sort.

    If you must carry a brolly, just heave at 'em and barge past. They'll soon learn to cross the road when they see you red coat coming.

    You haven't posted a song title post for days. Can I book one now?

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  7. I have perfected a sort of Dick van Dyke with Mary Poppin's parasole movement with my brolly... as a car passes intent on soaking me -I slide it down to my side to ward of any incoming buckets of water. Why am I now thinking Morcombe and Wise ?

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  8. Friko - cagoule? I hope you're not serious. And as for the song title posts, I can provide you with a personal service if you'll send me your address and a cheque for £500.

    bad penny - good idea. As long as the car doesn't take your umbrella with it.

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  9. Fran, re no. 3 - the mistake you make is in not being Scottish. Scots are practised in the over/under thing by years of dancing the Dashing White Sergeant at ceilidhs. In this, you may remember, one links hands with two partners and approaches another line of three people so that one line raises their arms, holding hands, in order to let the other line through underneath - letting go of the hands as they do so. This is always a battle of wills between the sides: the taller team wants the shorties to duck and go underneath, while the shorties, tired of years of shortness, want to force the tallies to bend to their will. Of course, if the teams are equi-tall, then the decision still has to be made. Whose determination will falter at the last second?

    Don't go down Murderer's Lane, Fran. Be safe. Risk the chips.

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  10. Ah, yes, re walking this side of the pond. One of the great ironies to me is that it is easier to take good walks in New York City than where I live now. While there are many, many beautiful places to walk in the Hudson Valley, they are reachable for us only by car! I treasure UK rights of way. When we come your way, the great treat for us is a cottage where it's possible to walk out into the countryside without getting into a car. (And I love the OS maps, as, if the scale is good, they show all the fish and chip shops, too!) I've seen nothing like them anywhere else.

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  11. Not to mention it is more exercise to go the long way, and clearly healthier in many ways, like fewer calories *yum yum fish and chips* and less chance of being mugged. *drool* *wanting some fish and chips right now*

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  12. You are right on the money with your description of the three types of drivers......Not to mention funny!

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  13. If I had to walk by the shops everyday, it wouldn't be just fish and chips that would tempt me. The more you keep mentioning fish and chips, the more I'm thinking I need a vacation to the old country...but I really want to frolic on a warm beach in February. I don't think the fish and chips are as good in Hawaii, but our weather is as miserable as your's right now, so I'm leaning toward Hawaii.

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  14. Isabelle - your comment brought back terrible, terrible memories of being made to do Country Dancing at school. Thanks for that. I had to take one of my tablets.

    Raining Acorns - ah, I guess we are all so different. If my husband suggests staying in a cottage where we step straight into the countryside, I hit him with a saucepan until he agrees to a cottage where we step straight into a teashop.

    Karen - I never take a route because it's healthier. I'm just not wired that way. (There are reasons why I hide behind magazine covers.)

    Molly - thank you for visiting!

    Nana - fish and chips in Hawaii? I just can't see the two together. Surely Hawaii is less prosaic than that.

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  15. Surely there's another lesson learned too - the art of multi tasking. Namely, how to walk, carry an umbrella AND eat fish and chips.

    Now there's a skill to be envied! ;)

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  16. I get drenched on my bike on wet mornings/evenings , since umbrellas and pedalling and steering are difficult to combine gracefully .
    And I'm so glad someone else found the "Roger de Coverley" no way to pass a pleasant hour , either.

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  17. I think I'd happily walk an extra mile for the salty-vinegariness (Real word, promise) that is British chip shop chips... and I would conceal them happily under my hot air balloon umbrella.

    PS I am back with a different disguise... I am no longer eternally distracted ;)

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  18. When you get a mo pop over as I have an award for you. Yes It's THAT time of the year !

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  19. Bloody hell Fran. You are so right when it comes to umbrellas. The number of times people just walk straight at you and you have to dodge them. Gits. And I have nearly had my eye put out on numerous occasions. The pavements are full of treach when it rains.

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  20. Ha! So funny. I like your "one days". ;)

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  21. neuroticnotes - I think I will try that multi-tasking thing you mention, just to see if I can .... honest ...

    SmitandSon - my daughter in Japan says people ride round on their bikes with umbrellas up all the time. Crazy or what?

    Sex, Drugs and Bacon Sandwiches - You may not be eternally distracted any more, but other people might be by your fascinating new name ...

    Annie - It's those people with massive golfing umbrellas that get me. Is that some kind of extended ego thing going on?

    Jayne - thanks. I have plenty of those days.

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  22. bad penny - that's very kind of you, m'dear. Shall be over as soon as to collect it. As soon as what? Don't ask. Life is like a whirlwind at present.

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  23. Friko, that word 'cagoules' makes my kids fall around laughing at the very prospect of wearing one, or worse, at anyone who does. Daftly they would sooner be undry than uncool.....

    Anna May x

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