Archive for December 2011

Voilà! Two turtle doves

December 10, 2011

A standard Christmas present bestowed by benign aunts is the humble and common handkerchief. They obviously feel that you can’t go wrong with this, as this gift is tailor made for men in a one size fits all. The hankie caters for the wide ranges in length and runniness of noses. The hankie is not just for Christmas as it can be blown all year round. I eagerly await this season’s offering.

For jailbirds this would be the ideal present. Gathering a few years worth and tying all the hankies together they’d be able to clamber down the wall outside the window of their cell. What they do afterwards, I don’t know? I’m not a prison break out specialist.

As with all things there is an up range market. Handkerchiefs are no different. M & S might be OK for the common people, in upper salons there are firms that make expensive bespoke silk chiefs. Only the very rich use this for nasal ejection purposes. More properly it is used as a fashion accessory in the breast pocket of a suit jacket.

There are many varied ways to tie a handkerchief.
· The Presidential, perhaps the simplest, is folded at right angles to fit in the pocket.
· The TV Fold looks similar but is folded diagonally with the point inside the pocket.
· The One-point Fold is folded diagonally with the point showing.
· The Two-point Fold is folded off-center so the two points do not completely overlap.
· The Puff is simply shaped into a round puff.
· The Reverse Puff is like the Puff, except with the puff inside and the points out, like petals.
· The Straight Shell is pleated and then folded over to give the appearance of nested shells.
· The Diagonal Shell is pleated diagonally and then folded.
(Thanks to Wiki for the folding methods described)

A cousin of mine, son of the hankie-present-giving aunt, swears by his hanky. He does. Like a second home switching MP, he mutters in anger “Flipping hankie”. My cousin is never seen without a hankie stuck to his face. He constantly blows his nose even when the tubes are plainly empty. The sounds emitted when he’s orchestrating his nostrils vary in pitch and tempo. He can rattle off a foghorn bugle then deliver a larghissimo of low timbre only the wolves can make it out.

And not for him the beautiful folding practices previously said. The used chief goes straight into the trouser pocket without a bye or a leave. The crumpled utensil will reappear at the next hint of a blockage. This time covered in the sticking crumbs from the threads of his pocket.

Once upon a time this disgusting implement of his was used for a different function altogether. At a gathering of family members my sister in-law broke one of her fingernails in an unhappy accident with a can of Irn-Bru. I could relate with my relation to this misadventure as breaking a nail can be distressing. She cried in anguish. Quick as a sneeze, in steps the chivalrous cousin offering his soiled piece of cotton to wipe away the tears.

BARRY THE BRONTOSAURUS 1.2




(Guy) Forget Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, remember Gottfried and Ramírez

December 5, 2011


Anyone who knew me thirty years ago would tell you I was crazy about tennis. I used to play all the time with the inevitable result that I got better. Not having a strong serve didn’t hinder me as I was very quick around the court. I wouldn’t give up on any point and would return most shots that others would have let pass. Soon I was running out of players to play as I guess my regular opponents lost heart and through lack of challenge I drifted from the sport. Since then I have had sporadic games with various friends and colleagues.

One thing I did back then which seemed unusual was that when I played table tennis I played left-handed. I play tennis right-handed. I’m not sure how this came about. Mostly I’m right-handed. The only other thing I do with my left is play guitar, badly I might add. My table tennis ability is average. Losses are dismissed with the “I play with this hand to give you a chance” excuse.

Years later another sporting great changed hands, so to speak. Brian Lara was, at his peak, the best cricketing batsman in the world. He was left-handed. However, when he played golf (Why? For heaven’s sake) he used right-handed clubs. His reasoning was that he didn’t want his golf swing to impair with his natural talent for swinging a cricket bat. Maybe subconsciously that’s why I played TT using the “wrong ’un”. However, the script didn’t quite work out for me. If this were a musical blog: cue violins.

I’m not hung up about it even though in my prime I know I’d have had Andy Murray screaming blue murder as I whip him. In my days wooden racquets were the weaponry employed. I had a Slazenger bat that I wrapped with black masking tape to emulate my hero, Bjorn Borg and his famous Donnay racquet. See, there I go rabbitting on about tennis as if it’s 1981. Thanks for reading my rabbit. For the montage lovers this is a superb editing video. Included in this clip is the old love of my life, the minor tennis princess herself: Andrea Temesvari. Check her out at the 2.10 mark or thereabouts.