Archive for the ‘B±!!$?*T From Melbourne’ Category

Roadkill Revisited

January 18, 2007

After scraping myself off my Sydney sick bed at five in the morning, I managed, with no small amount of assistance from my wife and Glaxo Smith Cline to drag myself onto a plane to Townsville, North Queensland. Quite how I got through customs is still a mystery, but lets just say if I had been travelling in the good old US of A, I wouldn’t have been flying, I’d have been in quarantine or carted off to Guantanamo (you know what happens to men with beards who sweat on planes!). My body temperature was all over the place. In the pressurised cabin I was boiling and on the searing tarmac I was freezing. We had a five hour drive down to a place called Arlie Beach in front of us and I couldn’t even see the floor. As Carol was and is pregnant I had to do all the lifting and carrying. I was a sorry sight. Staggering towards the cab weighed down with luggage sweating profusely I was a dead ringer for a dodgy drug mule.

Anyway, after much whinging by myself, we made it out of the airport and into the car that had been very generously lent to us by a close friend. As Townsville is such a compact city we cleared the city limits in a matter of minute and were on the highway heading south for Arlie beach and onward to the Whitsunday Islands.

On her last trip to Australia, Carol had driven the very same highway we were now navigating. Unfortunately, on that occasion she had been involved in a serious car accident that had resulted in her spending some time in the intensive care unit at Rockhampton general hospital. Carol and Sarah, her friend from back home, had been backpacking around Australia and had teamed up with a couple of local Aussie lads to share the long drive cross country from Brisbane to Cairnes. The Bruce Highway, the only road between the cities of North Queensland, is straight and long and there are few, if any, defining features. It cuts through mile after mile of Mangroves and scrubland with indiscriminate roadkill the only thing to break up the beautiful yet monotinous drive.

The accident happened after a late night round the campfire at the side of the highway and an unwise early start. Their driving buddy had, as many drivers do on these highways, fallen asleep at the wheel. The car had left the road at high speed landing two of the four occupants in intensive care. Unfortunately, Carol, who was asleep in the rear of the car was one of them. Although her unplanned diversion had not resulted in any lasting damage her recovery was slow and she was forced to stay in Townsville for the next few months. Her unexpected diversion spawned many enduring friendships and a genuine fondness for Townsville, but as we drove along the dusty barren highway her mood was understandably pensive. I attempted to soothe her nerves by pointing to indiscriminate trees every hundred metres or so and asking ‘did it happen there, was it there, or there perhaps, there?…….’

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Lazy sperm, or unionised sperm working to rule and fighting for a better fairer fertilisation?

January 15, 2007

So, I’m back on the blog after a brief and unplanned hiatus. I apologise for my silence, but the New Year saw me succumb to a rather virulent strain of bronchitis, so as you can imagine, New Year didn’t pan out exactly as I had planned. We had expected to welcome in 07 in Sydney, watching the most expensive civic firework display in the world from one of the best surfing beaches in the world drinking Bundaberg (possibly the worst rum in the world) until the sun came up. Unfortunately, although we made it to Sydney, all I saw over New Year was the four walls of a serviced apartment. I could hear the fireworks outside of my window, but I was too delirious to work out whether they were part of my fever or part of the festivities. Ironically, I was in paradise and the only place I wanted to be was back home in my own bed. The only New Years resolution I made for 2007 was to once again breathe through my nose!

Quite a lot has changed since I last blogged. We have of course, welcomed in the New Year. But following our quiet spell in Sydney we have spent the last two weeks travelling around the tropics. We have been enjoying the sun, catching up with old friends and exploring as much of North Queensland as we possibly could in the short space of time available. However, although swimming with turtles on the Great Barrier Reef and camping in tropical rain forests is pretty exciting, it’s got nothing on what my wife Carol laid on me just before we embarked upon or excursion.

Before I divulge what our big and somewhat miraculous news is, let me take you back to a doctors surgery in Hackney on a nondescript London morning earlier last year. I had an appointment to see Doctor Guha, our jovial yet dry local GP. I had been waiting on some test results and after half an hour of sitting in the waiting room staring at the obligatory tropical fish, my number was called and I entered Dr Guha’s office obediently. Receiving a medical prognosis is never easy, but Dr Guha has a knack of making light of most awkward situations. His warm Pakistani accent makes the most severe prognosis sound affirming. for example, when I found out I had an unusually high cholesterol count I asked him, other than the obvious dietary adjustments and upping of exercise levels, whether I needed to take any other precautions in my day to day life. He replied in typically dry fashion “Nothing really, but if you feel any tingling in your left arm go straight to hospital, you are having a heart attack! Oh, and when you go to dinner check the restaurant has a working CPR machine”. You can imagine how comforting I found his bedside manner to be. When my wife asked him for tips on fertility he told her to “Have lots of sex, preferably with your husband”. I remember him mentioning he had originally wanted to work in theatre, I had obviously misunderstood which type of theatre!

Unfortunately, this time the subject matter was a little to sensitive for the Guha routine. He looked up from browsing my medical file and said bluntly ” You have lazy sperm”. His clipped Pakistani accent seemed to give the statement more resonance. I remember thinking why should I be shocked, this only correlates with every other report I have received over my illustrious life. It was hardly the first time I have heard the words ‘must try harder’, and given my lifestyle choices over the past years I kind of deserved it. But this was serious, no more kids! (some may argue this is a positive thing, but believe me my wife is not one of them) Anyway, after suffering the ignominy of beating off into a plastic cup and having my potency, or lack there of, analysed by persons unknown, it turns out that Dr Guha’s blunt choice of words was misleading. My sperm were far from lazy. Stressed, nervous, relaxed, stubborn perhaps, but not lazy. It turns out my little warriors may have been working to rule but they still got the job done. You see my wife told me just before Christmas that she was pregnant, yes pregnant and the first Christmas card I wrote was to Dr Guha, second class of course, because it doesn’t matter when it gets there as long as it gets there, if you know what I mean!

So, we are now travelling with an extra passenger on board and we have stopped arguing over who is the designated driver. It has obviously changed things radically regarding our exploits in Australia. Carol is embarking on the kind of diet that would make Morgan Spurlock blush and I have lost my drinking buddy, which may or may not be a good thing. But our slow to work miracle just makes the whole adventure seem even more exciting. Unfortunately, the little Bub won’t see any of it, but he, or she, has the fact that we finally found a place that moves at the same pace as my sperm to thank for it’s existence. As the doctors down here would say, ‘no dramas, no worries. Ah, just relax, give the Sheila a good root and you’ll be right’.

Get out of the water!!!

December 19, 2006

Ok, so I am having reservations about going back in the water. Bells Beach, the beach where we have been surfing, was the scene of a shark attack last night. The guy who was attacked was only 100 yards off shore when the shark took a lump out of his leg! I always imagined you were safe as long as you didn’t go beyond the breakers. click HERE for the full story.
Where’s Roy Scheider when you need him?

Oops I did it again!!!

December 18, 2006

you-yangs-3.jpg

So, I managed to come off my bike once again and, just like Britney Spears exiting a limousine, I regretted not covering up. I am not sure how many accidents it is possible for me to have before my time here is done, but one thing is for sure, that number is rising. However, just like brave Britney, I am liberated and I am not afraid to show off my scars!

So, this time, I managed to kiss the ground in the You Yangs Regional Park, a series of granite peaks that dominate the flat landscape 55 Km south west of Melbourne. The You Yangs are only 340 metres tall but their stark granite and dust landscape is as challenging as any terrain I have ridden before. The landscape is tough, bone dry, barren and unforgiving. If there is ever a MTB park on Mars, I would imagine it will look like the You Yangs Regional Park.

The many trails snake through the sparse burnt bush over the granite outcrops and snake in and out of the rough undergrowth. They throw a myriad of surfaces at the rider in rapid-fire succession. The trails have it all; harsh switch-backs, technical downhills, raised boardwalks and some heart in mouth blind descents. Couple that with a few hours of oppressive heat and you have one of the most testing and exhilarating trail rides I have undertaken.

So where amongst this candy shop of obstacles did I reacquaint myself with the Australian dirt? Had I underestimated a descent or a switch-back? Had I misjudge a jump? No, I wiped out on a fire road without a single obstacle in sight. Away from the severity of the single-track, I let my concentration slip whilst talking to a fellow rider. One minute I was upright, the next I was kissing the ground like a newly arrived pope! Maybe, as my wife has suggested, it’s time to take up golf.

Oh, and yes, those black things all over my arm are flies.

I never went down???

December 15, 2006

I have recently joined a boxing fitness program ominously called ‘Get Even’ at a small boxing gym in central Melbourne. Although I consider myself to be quite fit, nothing I have done before could prepare me for the intensity of training for a(n imaginary) fight. Running up six flights of stairs carrying a medicine ball over and over and punching the fuck out of a giant sausage is a far cry from the sedate jogging round the duck pond I am used to.

I am However, loving it! In fact, I am loving it so much that when I saw my wife coming round the corner in the car (she was giving me a lift home after training as it was raining and I am not yet tough enough to run home in the rain!), I stood on the edge of the kerb and pulled a couple of Charles Atlas, Rocky Balboa poses. Unfortunately, it turns out the Nissan X-Trail is a very popular car in Melbourne and this particular one wasn’t being driven by my wife. As the car pulled up along side me, the large gentleman driving leaned over and shouted out of his open window “Mate, You aren’t gonna make much money looking like that”. Before adding “Ya bladdy poof”. I thought quickly, how would Rocky respond. Then it hit me. “Yeh”, I shouted back, “but I never went down??? I mean I never go down??? I mean……….