Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Juno Watt

D'you know what. D'you know what. My wife said such a weird thing yesterday. -

[The children say "D'you know what" almost all the time, usually twice, and before I can ever say whether I do or do not know what, they tell me what, though I always do because it's always to do with a certain teacher -
'Juno Watt, Juno Watt, Mr ― is such a ―.'
And the fact of the matter is that Mr ― actually is a ― so we can't argue with them. Mr ― has solemnly assured his pupils that Peak Oil will never happen in their lifetimes so he ain't much of a chemist, and he ain't much of a physicist either because he was driving them to some event and passed another car with so little space that they were white with terror, feet pressed hard and uselessly against the footwell of the car. Should Mr ― be up to a little arithmetic, he could calculate that whereas the time saved by overtaking on New Zealand roads is negligible, the energy a car possesses at even slightly higher speeds is highly significant and the death rate on New Zealand roads from head-on collisions is horrific. There are roadside white crosses everywhere. So when the children come home in a rage - yet another rage - shouting 'Juno Watt, Juno Watt, Mr ― is such a ―' I can't fault them, because he actually is a ―.]

Er. - Where were we before that rather dubious aside? -

D'you know what is where we were. -D'you know what, my wife is weird. The other day she said I had enough bikes. I have hardly any bikes, almost none in fact. She deceives herself by thinking that all those I have artistically hung round the garage don't belong to Other Family Members. In fact I have the bare minimum. I have one road bike and that's all. Well and Walter Haenni's racing bike of course, but that is an icon and I can't ride it anyway because of my neck. And I do have a recumbent bike but where would I be if I hadn't? and a recumbent trike because there's no sense in having made - um - counts - goes bright red - decides not to say how many - if you don't keep just one for yourself. True there are two in the shed but the other is actually hers or Susie's or someone else's in the family who I've forgotten I've set it up for. And there is that upright trike I built, but that's set up to do the shopping. Amazing how much you can get into an ugly old cardboard box on the back of an upright trike, if you can't afford for Mr Hembrow http://www.hembrow.eu/ to make you an elegant basket and ship it out here. Good bloke, David Hembrow. I think I raced against him in the days when nobody ever knew who they were racing against. He now lives Abroad in our colony of Europe so I shall nominate him for the Colonial Diaspora. He did once live - vexingly given my current basket needs - in New Zealand. David Gordon Wilson lived in New Zealand too, before moving to Loughborough where they still haven't installed an appropriate Blue Plaque on his boyhood house. (Philistines, the Loughborough council, even though Ariadne Tampion was a councillor and rode a Claud Butler racing trike with a great heap of children on the back.)

A cardboard box that David Hembrow didn't make

And all the other bikes - all of them - belong to my wife or the children. Well except for the rain bike. And you can't count the penny farthing because I was going to leave it in England and it was the children who made me keep it for when they're big enough. And the one that we keep for visitors but that's for visitors. And the Brompton - Juno Watt, it's my wife's Brompton and she blames me for buying it. And she nicked the mountain bike that I had bought for myself, a perfectly good gentleman's mountain bicycle and she despite, or because of, not being a perfectly good gentleman, simply said 'Thanks' and got on it and made me adjust the saddle for her, the horrible witch. And the tandem's half hers. I mean what use is a tandem if there's only one of me? So she's a dissembling lying git saying I have enough bikes.

But then she always does this.

She said I had enough longbows when I was a longbow person, carefully scraping six-foot lengths of ash and elm and lemonwood and osage orange and yew, delicious sweet-smelling yew that eventually poisoned me and now makes my nose seep blood if I start scraping it. I had hardly any longbows. She said I had masses. She said Was I trying to corner the market for when there was Peak Gunpowder.

Hardly any longbows. Almost none. Well there *are* a few more on the other wall, and some propped up between the wardrobes, but that's still hardly any.

And now Mr Gillions is on at me to go and buy that lathe from Invercargill but he doesn't care that I've got a wife who will make Peak Lathe remarks. So I shan't. I shall buy a shaper instead.


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