During my nine-year dalliance with ultra running I often heard fellow athletes discussing their optimum race weight. They would argue that achieving anything but a physical comparison with Skeletor might cost them two minutes and 35 seconds in a 100 mile race. In fact it's a good thing that race registration at the West Highland Way is over in a matter of a few hours or some local Samaritan might establish a soup kitchen in Milngavie car park to feed the poor, malnourished souls that gather there one night every June.
Posted by Subversive Runner at 16:51
As you may be aware this blog was supposed to be about running. Admittedly it was supposed to be a foil to the time and distance obsessed blogs you might encounter, but I intended it to include something of the sport of quickly putting one foot in front of the other.
Posted by Subversive Runner at 23:23
As time inexorably marches on the date of my retirement from the London Fire Brigade grows ever nearer. OK, so it's still almost five years away but if I consider how quickly the past five years have disappeared, the requirement for my attendance in the bad lands of SW11 will cease before I know it.
So thoughts have been swirling around in my brain of a replacement career. I like to brag about being pretty unemployable in any other field than fire-fighting, technical rescue or life-taking. But apart from my service with the fire brigade and army, in my 47 years on this planet I've earned a crust from building, painting and decorating, door security, body guarding and boxing coaching, so maybe not so unemployable.
You might agree that all of the employment opportunities mentioned above sit well within the practical, male dominated fields. Well, I've been thinking that there's a so far untapped cerebral well of possibility, tied up somewhere in my history degree or my willingness to sit in front of a keyboard and tap two fingered into it to produce written nonsense that no one will ever read.
So yesterday I found myself a guest of the Pegasus Luncheon Club at the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge. I was there with my very good pal, Boris, a former fire-fighter and WOII in the Parachute Regiment. The event was a lecture on the security aspects of obsession and stalking and was delivered by a bouffant haired former police officer-turned security consultant.
On our arrival the club's grandfather clock had just struck midday and the bar was empty. A discussion regarding our chosen tipple was led and decided upon by Boris, and despite my reservations, a bottle of red wine and two glasses were placed in front of us before you could say 'scene set for a mess.'
The picture below shows me and Boris, suited and booted at the beginning of the afternoon and most importantly, coherent (sober).
Shortly after the cork was popped a fella that I've chatted to before entered the premises. Max Arthur, author of a number of military tomes and all round good guy. I think our discussion centred around what he's currently working on and when it might be published.....the same discussion I've had with him on a number of occasions mainly because the subjects of fighting and women's breasts don't seem to enter his radar too regularly.
Anyway, the lecture got underway and the lecturer did a fine job. I discovered that Michael Fagan, the popular hero who entered Her Maj's bedroom and sat on her bed actually intended to rape her; a detail that, if widespread, might remove some of his notoriety and discourage idiots like the Bollock Brothers from entertaining the fool.
I also discovered that Thomas Hamilton wrote an 'end of tether' letter to the Queen a few weeks before his wrath was loosed in Dunblane (the Royal Family seem to feature heavily in these issues). Unfortunately the Royal Household's mail protocols meant that Hamilton's letter was opened some six months after the massacre.
Anyhoo, it was as Boris, Max and I absorbed these tales (and a fuckin shit load of red wine) that an idea came to me for a novel. Spookily a similar idea came to Max and a look was exchanged between us and somehow I knew he was thinking similarly. A hushed comment or two preceded him passing me his card and asking me to contact him outside this environ regarding our joint idea.
Fast forward a day and I have Max's card in front of me. I also have my phone and my PC. What I don't have is any recollection of my idea for a novel as it was washed away by another couple of bottles of wine. The photo below tells the story. Coherence and sobriety are clearly absent.
So what have I learned from this?
1. Expect a pukka novel from Max Arthur.
2. Don't expect a pukka novel from me.
3. Maybe seek alternative employment as a wine taster.
4. I'm a cunt.
Posted by Subversive Runner at 20:59
A comment was made to me recently regarding relating stories from the streets and alleys of Battersea where I'm employed as a firefighter. Once upon a time I did this regularly, then after a wee hiccup, decided against it. What I have to say is that since then there has been much bloggable material but I've refrained from putting these stories into the written form. But I have enough material for a book and, while sat on the loo at the fire station, mulled this over in my mind. If I start work on it now it could be finished by the time my 30 years pensionable service are complete (under five years to go).
It’s been a while since I posted a report from the bad lands of SW11, home of the iconic power station and abode for abandoned dogs and cats.
That’s because the natives of Battersea have been reasonably well behaved of late and so have curtailed their blogability. This was put right in the wee hours of this morning when we were called to a fire in a nearby road. There was no precise address given but located within said road is an accommodation block for transient, rehabilitating folk with a fondness for illicit substances.
Sure enough, on arrival at the loose location for a fire, no precise address was required as the smoke issuing from the second floor of the block mentioned above indicated the location of the blaze.
So, two of Battersea’s finest and I make our way to the second floor armed with hose reel, axe and enforcer and rigged in breathing apparatus.
A cursory bang on the front door precedes the inevitable transformation of the door’s status as wooden security barrier into matchwood.
But what’s this?
Before I can issue the order 'smash the door down,' a bleary-eyed, Kappa tracksuit-clad resident answers the door (incidentally I'm creating a guide to fire service orders that won't be found within the Fire Service Drill Book. 'Smash the door down' sits alongside another order I issued recently that went like this: 'get tooled up'.....another story).
Anyway, imagine the scene: three gear armed firefighters stand on a landing on the second floor while a blinking, unshaven resident stands in the darkened flat looking out.
‘What the fuck do you want?’ he grunts.
As I consider politely explaining that we’re in attendance to extinguish the developing fire in his kitchen, I decide to dispense with the formality. My hand, placed squarely in his chest with moderate force, reduces him to a sitting position and we charge over him into his kitchen.
Whatever food he had decided to cook prior to heading off to the land of nod is now ablaze and threatening to engulf the whole room (KFC was obviously closed). I mentally log the requirement for me to educate Mr Kappa tracksuit in the folly of combining cooking and sleeping and set my lads the task of extinguishing the fire.
The remarkable quality of water to cool and smother the hot red stuff is demonstrated in quick time and after ensuring that the fire is out I seek out Mr Kappa tracksuit.
He’s no longer seated in the hall by the door.
He must be outside then.
Nope, not outside.
With a neighbour?
As I wander about the flat and pass the bedroom I notice a form beneath the crumpled, dirty duvet.
I enter the darkened room and click on my torch.
Sure enough Mr Kappa, still clad in his tracksuit, is curled up in his bed and sleeping like a baby.
Meanwhile two hairy-arsed firemen drag a sodden and dripping hose out of the flat, the fire alarm continues to howl like a menopausal banshee, and the acrid smell of burning lingers in the air.
I make sure the flat is free of smoke and Mr Kappa is tucked in and we leave.
There is a fear among my colleagues that as we continue to fit domestic smoke alarms in every residence in London and carry out HFSRAs (Home Fire Safety Risk Assessments) that real firefighting action will become as redundant as Cliff Richard’s penis.
Not as long as Kappa tracksuit wearing customers continue to do their best to burn London to the ground.
Posted by Subversive Runner at 11:03