Monday, 6 June 2016

Competition Results!

I couldn't choose in the end so there are TWO winners, plus two prize draw winners, this is a matter between me, my conscience, my bored accountant and Bastardpost.

First winner, Hilary, who wrote me a blank verse poem about being terrible at windsurfing, because HOW COULD THAT NOT WIN, HOW HOW.

Sun, Sand and Sea. 

It’s 1988 and I am 13
in France on holiday with my parents and annoying little brother
(so annoying
all about chess and being annoying)
Anyway I am going to be an Amazing Windsurfer
no evidence at all supports this
in fact adverse evidence has presented itself
in rollerskating, iceskating, ballet, gymnastics, and sometimes just walking along
an hour’s class
on the lake
in the sun
what could be nicer
I am going to be an Amazing Windsurfer
like the instructor
(so goodlooking
all about watersports and being goodlooking)

out on the board

stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off

bored yet? not me!

stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off

pause to both inhale and swallow water
which is a neat trick if you were doing it on purpose

stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off

by now even instructor asking me to quit


stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off
stand up / fall off

hour’s up!

back to the shore, bruised and sandy-stuck
never wish to see surfboard again
(so difficult
all about being wobbly and difficult)

supportive parents: ‘but you fell off so gracefully!’


(with disbelief) ‘and you kept doing it’ 
'we can't believe how many times you fell off'



Not going to be Amazing Windsurfer
who wants to be an Amazing Windsurfer?
Have since played far more to my strengths
Amazing Crisp-Eater
Amazing Internet Time-Waster
And still, from time to time, a Very Graceful Faller-Downer

Second winner is Fred/Dan, particularly for the phrase "as dramatically as a Vauxhall Viva will allow".

What you need to know at this point is that Fred is a lanky, long-haired youth with a dancer's body and an Essex accent, living in Dublin. He is in a car driving, his passenger is "a 6’2” international judo expert and very taciturn fellow called Jeff ". They witness a bloke in a sports car doing an immensely dangerous manoeuvre and Fred decides to intervene:

"I am furious , I am channelling my old man , I am amusing Jeff who is taking a “stuff happens man” stance. I am watching a 5’6”/7 bloke walk into the tavern . I AM JUSTICE.

Despite my fury , I make a calm right turn and all the while Jeff is trying to convince me to “let it go man “ whilst I am becoming more resolved in my justice quest. I park outside the tavern and leave Jeff shaking his head in the passenger seat. Being a life-long non drinker had also marked me out as different it what was now approaching a decade in a unwelcoming land , then throw in the political situation of the time, so pubs were not somewhere I knew the layout, etiquette etc. 

So powered by fury I steamed on, spotting and mistakenly focussing just upon him. “If I was on duty I would write you up for the dick’s trick I just witnessed” I growled into the guy’s face , implying but not outright claiming to be a Gardai. Then it happened. I am aware that there is a 6’3/4 bulk behind me and coming in fast , pint in one hand confusion in his scowl. I am about 2 inches shorter but so out of my league in all other dimensions and everything about this bloke screams “copper”.

My target to this point has said nothing, his mate has started querying “ which station I am attached to ?” I decide to bluff by telling him “ you’re  poking your nose where it don’t belong “ but I am using rusty dancer skills , and the fact that unlike the other two I am unburdened with a full pint of liquid in hand , to twist into free space and calculate distance to exit. 
The target of my ire is now happy to leave the encounter and watch how I deal with his mate. 

Thankfully , the cop has not put down his pint as I am making a “fast walk” towards the exit, but he is following, I continue to advise him to “ butt out “.  Now it has struck me that though the car is only feet away even this lumbering giant would take the reg. Jeff has looked upon the unfolding scene with a mixture of amusement but I am praying he shows no sign of recognition as I now in full flight pass the car and bound for the park gates where I intend to lose my pursuer. Whether the pint in his hand, or the idea of running put him off, he stops before reaching the road and turns back to the tavern . I crouch behind the hedge for a good 15 mins able to see the car and Jeff whose head seems to be tossed back in a chuckle. When I deem it safe I approach the drivers side of the car in the stance seen in numerous films when protagonist is facing gunfire. I slip into the car and escape as dramatically as a Vauxhall viva will allow.

PS What was I thinking ? Just how many cops in early 80’s Eire had a cockney accent , and long locks? "

Two highly commended entries. Steve, for this classic tale of treadmill catastrophe:

"As a younger man I was extremely skinny. There were two schools of thought on this amongst the young women I met: that I was a bookish weed and that I was an athlete. As it happened the former group was large and correct, the latter small and deluded. However, with the certainty of the young that “be yourself” is a path to ruin, it was toward the latter group that I targeted my romantic efforts.

So it was that I found myself with a colleague from a holiday job on adjacent treadmills on a gym date. This was my first trip to a gym, and – consequently – my first time on a treadmill. Since this was a date and I had athletic credentials to prove, I set the speed to maximum. As I turned my head to make an amusing, non-bookish observation, my foot caught the stationary platform to the side of the rotating belt, sending my arse into the “over tit” position. As I fell, I grabbed the handrail in front of me with both hands, allowing my knees to be lovingly caressed by the revolutions of the belt. Lacking the upper-body strength to pull myself up, I hung there for a moment, the belt causing my body to undulate crazily like a wind sock in a hurricane.

All too quickly the skin on my knees capitulated to the belt’s caresses, and the welfare of my newly bare kneecaps was becoming a priority. I let go of the handrail, and was thrown into the wall behind me. As I lay in an oozing heap, I could only be grateful that my date must have alerted the appropriate officers to my situation on her way out, since the tannoy rang the death knell of my athletic career: “First aid to gym! First aid to gym!”"

And Kirsteen, who not only covered for her job in a morgue by pretending to do other things, then forgetting what she had told people and getting caught in a web of her own deceit:

"One unfortunate occasion, I turned up for an emergency eyebrow waxing (‘twas the 90s) at a beauty salon only be recognized while lying down on the bed with ‘ooh, you’ve got an exciting job haven’t you, where have you been since last time?’ Not a clue what I had told her last time. Cheeks burning red with embarrassment as I tried to ‘och, you know, this and that’ out of it while being stared at and poked through a giant hot magnifying lamp."

But also more recently, living in a country whose language she does not really speak, pretending to understand the window cleaner and ending up paying €50 to have noxious spider repellent sprayed around her house:

"Apparently I had consented to this in some ‘two people who don’t share any common language’ garbled conversation."

I also loved Sarah's tale of yearning to be welcoming and convivial and to have one of those houses filled with warmth and laughted and cherished guests, trying to host a dinner part and then realising she HATED it.

"Honestly, I wanted to stab him with the serving fork and claim that a terrible accident had transpired."

For the prize draw, here is photographic evidence of the process so that no one reports me to the Belgian office of fair trading equivalent. I put up with a lot of backseat competition prize drawing.

"Why are you doing that? There must be a better way to do it"

Yes, even from him (note tight sausaged denim leg prison which was not enhancing my mood).

"You could have just asked us to give you a number"

First prize draw winner: Penelope!

"You can use websites to do prize draws you know"

Second winner: Robynn Weldon!

Robynn, Penelope, Hilary and Dan/Fred, please email me an address for your book and chocolate, plus any requests for animal/meme drawing should you wish to avail yourself of this service.

I have no idea how this will help book promotion, but this blog is the only reason the book even exists, so it will at least serve as a symbolic thank you for the "true fellowship of hilarity and shared crapness" I so much enjoy here. So, thank you. Again.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to be laughing for ages about these stories, so funny! Well done to all the winners!
I particularly loved Fred/Dan's story. Fred/ Dan, do you have a blog or are you in the habit of writing? Very talented writing!

Patience_Crabstick said...

These are hilarious!

Jonathan said...

The windsurfing poem brought back memories of my brother trying to look cool while learning to windsurf years ago down in Cornwall. I remembering him standing out there, holding the mast, balancing, and not going anywhere - and of course as soon as there was a breath of wind, he fell off (and tried to still look cool as he climbed back on, in case any teenage girls were watching).

Nimble said...

Most excellent stories from Winners chosen with the help of a whippet and little strips of paper. I'm proud of everyone.

Stacy said...

Thanks for the excellent laughs on Monday morning. I will be giggling whenever I think of the poor guy on the treadmill.

redfox said...

Hooray! That was very satisfying indeed.

Anonymous said...

This line had me in tears!

"I crouch behind the hedge for a good 15 mins able to see the car and Jeff whose head seems to be tossed back in a chuckle"

And I've always been naturally wary of treadmills, more so from now on! ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Waffle,
As an antidote to the scary ladies, how about this amazing human specimen, who became a yoga instructor at the age of 49 and is still teaching at the ripe old age of 97, even after a number of hip replacements?
As my daughter drily remarked when I showed her today, "there's still hope for you, Mama"...

Smiler said...

This. Had. Me. In. Tears. Of. Laughter.

"Lacking the upper-body strength to pull myself up, I hung there for a moment, the belt causing my body to undulate crazily like a wind sock in a hurricane."

I cried reading this out to my partner in crime, that hicuppy, gulping, choking laughter when hot tears roll out your eye pipes.

jen said...

Hilary's poem brought back my own memories of attempting to be an Amazing Snowboarder as well as an Amazing Surfer. I'm also much more suited to be an Amazing Crisp / Potato Chip Eater as well.

Dydo.W said...

This blog was the best laugh I've had for ages. I adored the poem, it reminded me of my first skiing experience. I was wearing woolen gloves and when the ski tow thingy came to me I grabbed it and it slipped right through my hands and I fell over backwards, knocking over the person behind me, who then knocked over the next person and we all went down like skittles. After several cripplingly embarrassing repeats of this Monty Python scenario I skulked off and cried in a corner. Hated it, never tried it again. I don't even like snow or mountains. I was trying to please a man! I've given up that nonsense as well.

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