Thursday, October 8, 2009

Human sacrifice

The Aztec gods are still alive and well and this is an actual fact. It is a fact because completion of any job in a workshop cannot be effected without a human sacrifice. You know how it is when the router suddenly lunges sideways through the wood and 17,000 revs per minute of honed tungsten carbide gouges a chunk out of a thumb and a teacup-full of blood splashes all over the workshop floor? Human sacrifice. Yesterday I stuck a chisel in my hand and today I dropped the angle grinder and caught it, both being mistakes. Sticking a chisel in my hand was the revenge of the Aztec god of domestic fowls, because I was walking past my wife's chickens and therefore made a jabbing action at them so that they would know I hate them. They only lay eggs in batches so you either have thousands and join a crowd of chicken-owners wandering up and down the road trying to give eggs to people who already have too many, or else you and everybody else has none at all. And all the time they generate stuff you can't eat, especially early in the morning. 90% of what comes out of a chicken is inedible; 99% if you count the clucking. When you walk past the chickens they rush up squawking hopefully and you have to make jabbing motions at them, and now it turns out there's still this unpleasant git of some ancient Aztec immortal who's a protector of chickens and makes your other hand get in the way. Ever so sharp, are my chisels.

It is school hols. It is school hols so John thought he'd ride up the valley with me to test my saddle, freshly mounted on his Peugeot 531 because all his saddles are uncomfortable. Mine was too. We tried all the saddles in the bike shop and found them wanting so to take his mind off matters I took him into the shoe shop to effect the purchase of trainers. John is 14 and my experience is that among fourteen-year-olds, shoe replacement is a race between total destruction and growing out of them. Buying shoes for a child is a trauma I shall be glad to relinquish; indeed my wife has already relinquished it. The trauma is enhanced by the fact that trainers being relatively practical footwear the evil marketing gits include titchy sections of pink or yellow and a note on the box announcing 'Ladies'. This does not encourage your teenage son to try them on. If all marketing men died tomorrow, the world would be a happier place. Marketers are totally useless. All they do is make retail choice a minefield full of junk you didn't want and don't need. They don't even lay an intermittent egg. What baffles me about shoes is the sizes, which come in UK US and EUR sizes and they are wildly differing numbers and there isn't a size 41 EUR. People who live in EUR don't have size 41 feet. Here is a short list of shoe sizes, faithfully copied onto a bit of paper I begged from them, without actually mentioning why. (Not that it would have made any difference. The shoe shop lady is like that bloke who blew a tamping iron through his head but didn't die - what's his name - quick Google - Phineas Gage, that's the chap. Whenever I go there I try to peer at her scalp to see if there's a gruesome scar where her brain fell out.) Anyway, here's the List:
UK 5 US 7 EUR 37 1/2
UK 5 1/2 US 7 1/2 EUR 38
UK 6 US 8 EUR 39
UK 6 1/2 US 8 1/2 EUR 40
UK 7 US 9 EUR 40 1/2
UK 9 1/2 US 10 EUR 44
Notice anything? There are certain feet dimensions that are banned in Italy and France and they don't even have the excuse of metric.

It's a bit like bike saddles, except they only come in three sizes, 155, 130 and somewhat oddly 143, and given that a bicycle seat like a shoe has a weight-bearing and therefore a critical function, we need attention giving to the matter. - Atsh'lly I should ask Mr Knight, because he knows everything. He once explained to me what a 700c was, and there are only five people in the whole universe who know that.


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