Monday, March 12, 2007

Books n that

Hello blog customers. Sorry that supplies of blog have been running low lately - hard to say why. Under the hammer a bit at work.

Went to another light shop today and am now heartily fed up with them. Cheered up a bit by their stock of lava lamps bearing sticker "Do not remove or drink liquid".

Tonight is the end of a long weekend, in which we did not get to the beach. Actually we haven't been down there for at least 2 weeks. We played a lot of board games. I have introduced Marcus to a simplified version of Battleships that we play on paper, and he is doing very well at it. I have a vague memory that my Dad brought home photocopied Battleships grids when I was a kid. Maybe I'm imagining it.

Marcus and I also played a bit of cricket in the back yard. His technique is coming along, but he still thinks its clever to hold the bat in innovative ways to "trick" me. Michael is learning cricket by osmosis as he scoots in and out around us.

Michael shocked Elf today by holding up a fat compendium of Modern Romance that she reads occasionally, and saying "I'm just reading this trash". "WHAT did you say?" She suspected me as I am often sniping at her choices in literature, but I never used that term around Michael, I am fairly sure. He just summed it up himself.

I just want to mention a couple of things from the book I'm reading, Round Ireland in Low Gear by Eric Newby. He is a hoot and I have Jonathan our house designer to thank for putting me on to him some years ago. He loves to deliberately derail his narrative with huge gobs of jargon, which in themselves attain a kind of poetry. Here he is talking about setting up their bikes and gear.

It was soon obvious that we were in trouble. In order to fit the plates, the bolts used to attach them to the carriers had to be inserted through the brazed-on carrier eyes at the lower end of the chain stays, and then through the eyes in the triangulated struts in the bottom of the carriers. The devilish thing was that it was not possible to insert one of these bolts from the outside in, and secure it with a nut on the inside of the carrier eye, because any nut on the inside would become enmeshed with the teeth of the outermost low-gear sprocket on the freewheel block... and so on to the bottom of the next page.

As long as you are unencumbered by any knowledge of bikes, like me, a bit of this is strangely enjoyable. Eric Newby is also keeping alive the saying "as black as your hat", and I urge everyone reading this to find an excuse to use it, today.

Finally, he has the excellent quote from an old-time guide to touring Ireland, that a particular route from Bally-something to Killie-something "is generally level, with a strong upward tendency".

So - get into some Eric Newby. The Last Grain Race is a good place to start. This book is very good, whereas that one is excellent.

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