Ten Things Beginning with P

1. Pea
2. Peace
3. Parliament
4. Porcupine
5. Palestine
6. Pork scratchings
7. Plasticene
8. Fugue
9. Penguin Dictionary of the Popes
10. Papua New Guinea

Extra quiz for those who like an extra bit of fun:
Actually, one of those 10 things doesn’t really begin with P! See if you can find out which it is and replace it with Pustule, or perhaps, if you know your Ps, a P-word of your own choosing.

Actual web log kind of thing

I spent yesterday being filmed for a BBC programme called Moira Stuart in Search of William Wilberforce, or something along those lines. It was only the second time I’ve done this kind of thing, and the first wasn’t all that brilliant, so it was a relief that this seemed to go well – miraculously well, in fact, considering I was in a bit of a bad way and hadn’t actually slept at all the previous night.

The programme’s in March, so set the video for then.

Ten Books I Read This Summer

I finally finished my holiday reading. Here, for your information and edification, it is:

1. The Big Boring Manual of Municpal Rubbish Truck Maintenance – Beth Mancini
– Ironically titled political thriller set in Leeds in the near future. Still quite boring.

2. Whining and Dining
– A collection of food criticism from Guardian columnists who eat out for a living still can’t stop complaining.

3. The Lowry Enigma – Hank Moron
– A handsome expert in ancient riddles finds clues to the conspiracy behind the big bang in pictures of matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs. Unspeakable.

4. The Collected Poems of Laugh-a-Minute Len

5. God’s Loony – Nathaniel Egbiter
– the unauthorised autobiography. I assume the title is supposed to be ironic, but ironically it isn’t.

6. How to Achieve Everything You Want for Yourself in One Easy Step – Barnfeld J. W. Camcorder
– disappointing.

7. Missing: The Everything but the Girl Story – Lynne Majors
– might have enjoyed it more if I remembered more than one of their songs.

8. The River – Cindy Drupe
– Three-generation saga of a tragic family living on the banks of a gloomy willow-shrouded river, most of whom starve, drown and/or commit suicide at least once. If I had a gun I would have taken this book outside and shot it.

9. A History of Words – Marjory Fossock
– Seems most of them come from Latin.

10. The Spacehopper Age!: Growing up in the 70s – Simon Pepper
– Anyone who defines his generation by a big ball that wouldn’t carry you more than a metre without breaking your nose is a big fool. And too many exclamation marks.

Wave it with pride

I collected 27 Mars bar wrappers and sent off for my free gift. It was a flag, blank on one side for me to fill in with my own national colours using my traditional indigenous skills. The other side said, in cheerful writing, "Corporate America supports your country in the current national championships of whatever sport matters to you.

Ten Famous Triangles (or some famous, some yet to receive the recognition they deserve)

1. The isoceles triangle
2. The Bermuda triangle
3. The sandwich (in halves or quarters)
4. The lazily-drawn shark fin.
5. The napkin
6. St James’s Park
7. The red reflecting triangle in the boot of someone’s car
8. The love triangle
9. Sir Henry Witherington Triangle, the discoverer, ironically, of the octagon.
10. The optical illusion triangle, where each side seems to be front of all the others.

Time Passes

Well, I guess it turns out that I seriously overestimated the amount of wisdom I have to share.

Let’s talk about cycling instead.

I used to like cycling when I was a kid, till my bike got run over by a drunk driver. Fortunately, I was wheeling it across the road rather than riding it at the time, so I got away with a bit of blood and a good excuse for being late home from the youth club. They said in the hospital that I was lucky the bike was there to protect me, which is one of the madder things I’ve heard.

Anyway. Now I’m a born-again cyclist. (I get fit and I go to be with Jesus when I die.) It’s fab. Whhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! I go, when it’s downhill, the wind in my helmet, my life in my hands. When it’s uphill, it’s more "Ugh – ugh – ugh – ugh – ugh…" (stop and pretend to fix something on my bike while I get my breath back) "…ugh – ugh – ugh". But then it’s a truly righteous feeling when you get to the top – and when you feel those little blobs of cholestrol being traded in for extra minutes of your life.

Which is why I’ve been persuaded to rediscover the joys of the saddle – not the feeling, but the extra time. There was a time, when the days were long and life stretched ahead more or less forever, when some of us cared about being fit and healthy and some didn’t. Those who did, devoted themselves to sport, weights, running, and were lean mean sex machines. Those of us who didn’t gave our time to more enjoyable and meaningful things and got by with what God given us in the sexual selection department.

But now I’ve reached the stage of life where the halfway-to-3X20+10 milestone is past, the peak behind me, whhhhhhheeeeeeeee!!! And it turns out that the question is no longer whether you’re going to exercise, but which exercise you can manage to maintain. It’s not a lifestyle option anymore, it’s life. It’s not about what shape your body is (or not solely) but how long your body is going to last.

I don’t like any competitive sports – there’s such a thing as being too good a loser. And jogging I keep in the same folder as banging my head on my desk for half an hour. Then I remembered how much I used to like cycling. And off I go. Whhhhheeeeeee!!! It’s not only good exercise and good fun, it actually gets you somewhere. And it’s environmentally friendly. How about that. And it turns out to be the quickest way available of going the 8 miles to Kings Cross.

And now I’m off again. Seeya.