Posted by Subversive Runner at 14:53
Murdo the Magnificent got bitten by a dog. He truly did. The sorry tale can be read on his Facebook page, which as it happens, is quickly becoming something he's using often. Once a mysterious, Shaman type character who revelled in his Luddism and wore his rejection of modernity like a badge of honour. Now he's become almost techno geek-like.
Anyway, back to the dog bite. Murdo was out running and this rabid, slavering cur hunted him down and latched onto his buttocks, removing a good part of the Magnificent One's gluteus maximus. Actually I've exaggerated slightly there......a fluffy Labrador nipped Murdo's derriere sending him off to hospital for a tetanus jab.
Murdo is rightly annoyed by this event and has asked the opinion of other runners. The information he's seeking is what could he have done to prevent the dog's unwanted attention. Now he need do no more than ask yours truly because:
1. I own a rabid, slavering hound.
2. I have a history of physical engagements with dogs.
My ownership of Mason (dog) is well documented within the pages of this blog (OK, so there are no actual pages, but it sounds better than 'appears here electronically'), so I won't witter on about point 1. By the way, if you're unsure of why my pooch gets the bracketed identifier after his name it's so you don't confuse him with the King of the Essex underworld, Mike Mason, who I refer to as Mason (man).
But regarding point 2, the story of my tussle with a dog is told within the pages of this blog (check me....I did it again). However, safe in the knowledge that many of my readers are of an age where forgetfulness is a constant companion (not you Uncle Duncan), and some are new, I shall repeat my story here for the benefit of Murdo. The tale is italicised below the picture.
It was 1988 and I was a young soldier with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment based in Fallingbostel in the then West Germany. I've attached a picture showing me a couple of years prior to the incident I'm about to relate. You'll see a fresh faced, idealistic young man successfully passing out after undergoing the rigours of British Army training. The person you see here is yet to discover that the British Army of the 80s was really just an approved school for naughty boys, and the naughtier you were, the more success and appreciation you'd enjoy. Think Private Henry Hook out of Zulu.
Anyway, let's get back to 1988. There I was in the squadron bar with a few muckers remarking how the tradition of marking Cambrai by attacking the neighbouring regiment had been largely forgotten in recent times. It didn't take too many more bottles of Herforder to encourage us to mount our own Cambrai campaign. So off we trotted, clad in our usual off-duty uniform of desert boots and flight jackets, heading for the Royal Hussars barracks armed with spray cans of silver paint (my mate Matt had been covering repaired crash damage on his Cortina). My can must have been less full than the others; the significance of this will be made clear in a while.
We sneaked up to the Royal Hussars Officers' Mess, where a mess ball was in full swing, and sprayed our squadron name 'CYCLOPS' in massive letters on the outside wall. One of my more perceptive colleagues (there were only three of us) indicated that we'd left a pretty decisive indication of the identity of the guilty party on that wall. So we added the other squadron names: 'AJAX,' 'BADGER,' HUNTSMAN,' and 'NERO.'
Then we did the same on the wall of the Sergeants' Mess.
Then on one of the Royal Hussars squadron accommodation blocks.
Then we stole a four-ton truck from the vehicle compound.
Which broke down.
In the middle of the parade ground.
It was as we were making our way back from the Royal Hussars parade ground to our own regimental lines that we heard a distant shout that went something like: 'This is the Royal Military Police....stay where you are!!'
A chorus of three voices returned the suggestion: 'FUCK OFF!'
My two colleagues made off like Vanessa Feltz chasing a departing ice-cream van but yours truly had the flash of inspiration to repeat our suggestion in silver letters on the ground.
But I was short of paint.
I rattled that can like I was making out with Madam Palm and her Five Sisters but I only achieved 'FUCK OFF R..' before a closely located torch beam was switched on and the words: 'Stand still; RMP!' were shouted in my ear.
In true boundlessly energised, British squaddie style I threw my almost-empty can in the direction of the blinding torch light and took off down the road.
Then I heard three words that really, really confused me.
'Go, Dog, Go!'
What the fuck does that mean?
I found out seconds later when I heard a growl, smelt the unmistakable aroma of Pedigree Chum, and felt sharp canine teeth sink into my forearm.
The bastard RMP was an accompanied dog handler.
As soon as I hit the ground with a massive German Shepherd Dog attached to my arm I heard the word: 'Release!'
My hairy German attachment immediately released my arm and sat down like a good pooch.
It was then that I made what was probably my second biggest mistake of the night. I mistook my canine friend's obedience to be capitulation and took off again like Sir Jimmy Savile en route to a TK Maxx sale.
Before I'd gained three feet of distance on the four-legged resident of Alsace the fucker's teeth were embedded in my right hip and he wasn't for letting go this time. It was then that I made what was probably my biggest mistake of the night. I repeatedly punched the dog in his face.
I think that the feeling of a canine tooth, gradually gouging a groove into your pelvic bone, is enough to make any boundlessly energised British squaddie piss his pants. So that was me, nicked and banged up with wet keks and an injury that, now healed, is very apparent on my right hip.
Posted by Subversive Runner at 21:06
This blog is purportedly an athletic one...about running. Of course, if you'd paid to read it you'd be taking my sorry arse to the Trading Standards authority for blatantly mis-selling you an entirely different product.
So I'm gonna mention a wee bit about running before moving on to something much more interesting...deal?
Ok....so the pair of running shoes you can see in the picture are the ones that Mrs Mac bought for me to run the Highland Fling. In 2011. By my reckoning, even though they belong to a guy whose weekly mileage is probably only just nearing that of Vanessa Feltz, these shoes have done well over 1000 miles. They've been in the washing machine a few times and they were recently the chosen footwear for a holiday in Devon so I blame them for a series of recent disastrous training runs. Of course, a broken midsole and a heavily worn heal are way ahead of a ferocious wine and kebab habit as the harbingers of poor athletic performance.
So, I bit the bullet and headed out to buy a new pair of running shoes. It just so happened that my consumerism coincided with Tim Downie's recommendation of Adidas Kanadia TR4 as quality running shoes, and get this, available in the shops for under £40.00.
Now I'm not afraid to spend a pound note.....the £1,500.00 I spent on a Masters Degree course that never saw me submit anything beyond the first assignment is testament to that, but running shoes for forty quid? All my boxes ticked.
So today I purchased said shoes and ran in them to discover that they are, indeed, very comfortable and grippy shoes. I'd even go as far as to say that 'disastrous' didn't even enter my mind. However, what did become apparent was that Adidas have done that odd thing where they've built the shoe on a last that's a size smaller. So tomorrow I'll head to the shops to buy a second pair of running shoes that are a size larger to enable the ownership of one pair of useful shoes that will have cost me a total of eighty quid.
That, Dear Reader, is enough about economics and certainly enough about running. Now today's offering becomes a lesson in cookery.
You know that stuff called corned beef that comes in a can and has unidentifiable yellow fat at its edges? Well I used to eat tons of the stuff in the army. I never really enjoyed it....it was just there....omnipresent, like Cliff fuckin' Richard. Then, after a non-enforced visit to the Emerald Isle a few years ago I made the fortunate decision to try real corned beef. Ever since then I've tried to get the superior version over here but failed.
That is until McCartney's of Moira started exporting their excellent product to the UK. However, either a second mortgage or secondary employment as a Piccadilly rent boy is a requirement to afford the stuff.
So I decided to make my own.
All you need is gunpowder, a shit-load of spices, and a gallon of water. Oh, and a really inexpensive cut of beef.
So I 'acquired' said gunpowder from a 'source'; accessed the shit load of spices in my kitchen cabinet; and bypassed my water meter to get a pot load of free H2O.
Then I wandered down the butchers to procure 5lb of brisket that had to be ordered in because 'no-body bothers with that shit.'
A day later and I'm in the butcher's with a five pound note and an expectation of a lump of meat the size of my right bicep.
What actually occurs is this:
The butcher comes out from the back of the shop with half a dead cow across his back. With a bit of subtle lighting and a decent cameraman he could have recreated a scene from a Vietnam war movie.
Then, with a twist of his shoulder, he slams this hunk of beef down on the counter and says:
'You look worried....it's OK, it's not all yours.'
Then, with a perfectly honed butcher's knife, he makes a Jack the Ripper style incision and expertly removes a sliver of fat.
'There you go....that's thirty quid.'
Being a magnanimous kind of guy, and one who's not afraid to spend a pound note, I hand over the cash and struggle out the door with a package that's so large it's likely to attract the unwanted attention of the murder squad.
I drive home and begin the process of pickling my corned beef. This involves making a gallon load of pickling liquor and then submerging the meat for a week in the fridge. Then I'll cook the meat to produce proper, Oirish corned beef. What I'll do then is prove that any idea that cheap tinned meat's inferiority is a complete myth by publicly sampling my home produced fayre here on my blog.
And as I sit here writing this this I'm seriously considering whether I need to lay out another forty quid for a pair of running shoes that fit.
The memory of the butcher's razor sharp knife is still vivid and I have this notion of overcoming the recently presented problem of a small pair of running shoes by simply asking him to remove all of my toes.
Posted by Subversive Runner at 22:02
This blog post is inspired by the gulf in the experience of life enjoyed (or otherwise) by townies and country folk.
I'm talking about the whole experience.....the speed of living, the demands of expectation, the availability of consumer goods, and the ever present smell of shit. I was reminded of this gulf last week when I arrived in Devon with Mrs Mac, the Brady Bunch and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. We were there for a holiday and had booked a lovely little cottage that had the quaint absence of a telephone signal, no internet provision and Council telly. Yet it cost us almost the same amount as a fortnight in the Caribbean.
We were met by the owner, one of those guys who's managed to retain a full head of hair into his 50s, and in an arrogant, mocking kind of way, has allowed it to grow just that bit too long, despite being wholly grey in order to give him the option of styles. On the day in question the style was 'salon product wash and condition followed by blow dry.'
To be fair he didn't do that whole, 'show you round the cottage and demonstrate how everything works, even the quirky thumbscrew on the bathroom door' thing. It was a quick welcome, the presentation of some plated and cling-filmed sliced cake, that a few years ago was home-made, now has the unmistakable hint of supermarket- mass production since Tesco built a store above the nearby town, then a goodbye.
But before he went what he did labour was the point about the bog. His words are shown in yellow, my thoughts are bracketed.
'Now, this isn't the big city, capiche?... (Your referenced to the 'big city' has obviously been inspired by a recognition of my Cockney accent rather than Mrs Mac's soft Scottish lilt. And your idiotic use of 'capiche,' get this: I'm not Italian and you're not a Mafia Don, so get on with it you carrot-crunching half wit).'
'Here we have a thing called a sceptic tank that collects all the waste flushed down the lavvie... (I don't recall Al Pacino ever using the word 'lavvie;' not in Godfather nor Scarface, so your alluding to La Cosa Nostra is now but a comical memory, but carry on).'
'All the sceptic tank can manage is soft toilet tissue. Nothing more. No cotton buds, no tampons, no face wipes, nothing ....(you didn't mention condoms).'
'If you do fail to adhere to this simple rule you'll block the sceptic tank and the resulting problem affects everyone here. But we can trace the source of the problem.... (Well done, that's a more effective threat than pretending you're speaking to me with cheeks stuffed with cotton wool when in fact you sound like one of the Wurzels).
'As long as we've got that clear I'm sure you'll have a great break here in the country.... (I know I'm in the country, you bumpkin, I can smell the shit. How I wished I'd packed my knife collection and slowly unpacked it as you went through that little spiel).
After Wurzel left my little girl made the following observation:
'Dad, when Marvin the goldfish died you sent him to heaven through the toilet and he was bigger than a cotton bud. How do the goldfish here get to heaven?'
'They get buried, same as us,' I answer....(actually they end up in the same place as everything else semi edible here. They're either fed to the livestock or thrown into a steaming vat of decaying apples to produce scrumpy).
So we spent the following week with a group of children that treated the toilet bowl as if it had the same consumption ability as a size-zero super model. Meanwhile Yours Truly made it his daily mission to produce the longest, fattest, unbroken morning constitution in order to block Wurzel's sceptic tank with nothing more sinister than a healthy turd.
Not an easy task when you're lactose intolerant and most of your morning movements would have Gillian McKeith running for the hills.
But at the end of the week I realised I shouldn't have bothered with the sceptic tank, which incidentally swallowed everything it was offered like Vanessa Feltz at a Krispy Kreme giveaway. Nope, if I wanted to introduce Wurzel to some of London's finest scat, it was the famous Devon Cream Tea that was gonna assist in that.
Just mix one Devon Cream Tea to a lactose intolerant Londoner, add wine and a final night holiday celebration and voila, an innocent early morning fart becomes something quite unpleasant. If you're struggling to understand what occurred here either think Spud in Trainspotting or imagine an early morning exchange between Yours Truly and the cottage owner, Wurzel:
'Well, hello city dweller, how's tricks? What you doing up so early.....shit the bed?'
Posted by Subversive Runner at 00:00