Monthly archive

Haven’t you got better things to do?

Hergé's adventures of keithlard

Well I went to the Brent reservoir on Saturday for bird noticing fun and photergraphy (as the more eagle eyed readers of this journal will be aware). I hope you do not actually have eagle eyes as that would be a little disquieting, plus it really annoys eagles. It is a hard job being an eagle and they cannot answer back, like the Queen, so next time have a little consideration.

On Sunday I went on my very first Lardax ride, if you do not know it is a special type of bike ride I have invented where you do not really know where you are going when you start off, plus it does not matter how long you take. So as it happened I went to the Lea Valley Navigation where there is a super park all along the canal and lots of people going for bike rides. It is next to the big reservoirs there eg the King George V and William Girling which are completely vast but you cannot get near them, which is a shame as there is apparently lots of intresting birds.

It is understandable that they do not want people messing about there as it supplies a million people’s drinking water in London, but I think you can get a special birdwatching permit to visit them. I might do that, although I do not know what kind of tough interrogation you have to to go through to get the permit. “Do you like birds?” “Yes.” “Are you a terrorist fanatically dedicated to poisoning London’s water supplies?” “No honest.” “Very well off you go then.”

Anyway it was a wizzo day out on the canal and I did see a number of mallards, coots, moorhens, swans and ducks. Also I saw a sleek dark diving bird which I realised straight away was a lifer (that is just a bird you have not seen before). It was quite shy and kept diving every time I pedalled up to it to have a closer look, but later on it took off and flew all around with its mate. It was about goose sized and all black except for white cheeks and throat, with a long pointed bill like a grebe. So I think after consulting my reference books (lookitup boy lookitup lookitup) it is a Great Cormorant. Or if anyone knows better please tell me.

I guess it was over 20 miles there and back which is a good ride, I was not too tired but my bottom was telling me in no uncertain terms that it had had enough when I got back. It was a lovely day of spring sunshine though and it was great being out on the bike. I worked up a big appetite even though I had a packet of Fizzy Fish to sustain me, and in the evening Jane and her neighbour and his girlfriend and me went to the Dignity and then to the Balti for a refreshing curry.

So that is all the adventures I will tell about for now. More news tomorrow!

keithlard's one-step weight loss programme

Here is my famous one-step weight loss programme that I have invented. It is this:

  1. Do a lot of bikling.

It is not working at the moment as unfortunately I am addicted to BEER. It would be all right if the only beer you could get is fizzy dishwater like Carlsberg or Fosters, but now that I know delicious posh beer such as Leffe, Duvel, Erdinger, Bitburger, Etalon and Orval exists, I cannot stop drinking it.

And as you know BEER is a gateway drug to such as CURRY, which is fattening and bad for you (at least the nice ones are). Also SNACKS eg popcorn, pistachio nuts ekcetera. So basically I am not losing any weight at all even though I am cycling over 100,000 miles a day.

It does not matter though if you are having fun. I chatted to the sweet girl that works on the checkout in Tescos, she seems really intellergent and nice eg the type of person that you could talk to about stars and birds and PHYSICKS, I never know about that type of thing though in case people are not intrested. Most people are not.

I think if you do not read any papers or know about any pop groups, like me, there is a lot of left over space in your head for thinking about Go and LISP and phillersophy and genes and the Moon and children’s sweets from the 1970s and such. Unfortunately it has also used up the space reserved for making small talk with pretty girls which is why I usually find myself either uncharacteristically silent or suddenly blurting out something like ‘Imagine if we were like snakes and you could dislocate your jaw and swallow a whole chicken at once! That would be mental!’

It is usually at this point that I’m asked to leave the store by security.

Quite a few glasses of quite a few drinks

I went round to see my old friend Donald in Barnet, and he cooked a traditional Scotto-Chinese dinner of haggis, neeps, and stir-fried vegertables, which was delicious! Then we had a game of Go (I lost), and I played his 11-year-old son at Chess (I won - though I did feel a bit like the Competitive Dad from the Fast Show, punching the air and shouting ‘Yes!!’) We had some tasty Belgian beers and talked about Lisp and psychedelic music ekcetera.

So it was a great evening, the only weird thing was I cycled up there against a fierce headwind, by the time I came back the wind had backed 180 degrees (or pi radians if you are a computer) and was blowing the other way! All of which had the disconcerting and topographically unlikely effect of being uphill all the way there, and all the way back.

I am starting to develop some legs though, all cyclists know this feeling that you start to actually enjoy taking on a hill, and instead of going all hot and wobbly and having a little rest halfway up, you power all the way up and then instead of freewheeling down the other side, you just change up a couple of gears!

I pedalled home on Friday night after quite a few glasses of quite a few drinks at the Pineapple, with the cheerful invincibility that only comes from advanced intoxication. It is a long pull up Archway Road to Highgate station, but I do not think I paused for breath and it was only when I got off at Tescos in Finchley that I realised my lungs were burning and little lights were flashing in front of my eyes.

So my secret strategy if I ever go in for the Tour de France or something like that is to just get enormously drunk beforehand. King of the Mountains! I do not know why no one else has thought of that.

Chicken man

I just watched an entertaining episode of Grange Hill there. What will that shrieking ginger tycoon Pogo Patterson get up to next? But it reminded me of the brilliant fact that the original Grange Hill theme tune is called Chicken Man. Every British person of a certain age knows that music and most of them do not know that. It sounds a bit like a guitar made out of a squawking chicken and it is by ace library music composer Alan Hawkshaw, who lives in a semi-detached house and wrote the diddly-doo music for Countdown and the importint-news! music for Channel 4 News.

I ate a delicious chicken based pizza too!

Learn about birds with Computer Jones

As there is a lot of serious ornithological discussion on this journal at the moment, I thought I might ruin it with this clip from Look Around You:

I think I might hate contact lenses

They are a bit difficult to put in and take out. I seem to be getting worse at it not better. In the opticians with the pretty optician lady I did it really easily, today I spent about 15 minutes in the loo swearing and getting cross and upset because I could not do it. By the time they did go in I had dropped them about 5 times and got them all covered in hair and fluff ekcetera and poked myself in the eye a lot so that I was all red eyed and sore.

Then it was a minor struggle to get them out again, although admittedly I had a few glasses of drinks this evening following the LRUG meeting, which was tremendous fun and a lot of nice people there to chat to. It is great once I’m wearing them as I can see everything that is going on and any girls looking at me will not think I am short sighted, or be distracted from my handsome looks by a big pair of Joe 90-style glasses.

But there are not any looking anyway, and given the amount of fuss and bother involved, is it really worth it?

Various intresting pictures

Oxygen is importint as demonstrated in this little exhibit at Eden. It is connected to the Plant Machine you can see in a previous set of Eden pictures. When they do not get oxygen they all collapse. It is a valuable lesson there for any of us that did not realise you need oxygen to breathe.

A sinister old man I saw out of my window. I expect he is quite harmless really, but I just liked something about him. There is an eerie quality to the shot as well being taken through a double glazed window, and the harsh light lends an air of criminality.

On Caradon Hill in Cornwall, a cheerful rainbow over Minions and the old abandoned mine workings. It was fierce weather up there as detailed in Storm on Caradon. As David Brent pointed out, “‘If you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain.’ You know who said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she’s just a big pair of tits.”

Jane and I were at Par Beach (more pictures to come) and there were some people messing around with a quad bike, so I intrusively took photos of them.

A kissing couple at Mevagissey harbour. I suppose it is a bit romantic but I like it when people hold hands and kiss in public. The only problem is I would like to take more photos of them, except in case they do not like it and beat me up. I am quite sensitive to being beaten up. You may call me a la-di-da Morrissey type, but I do not like it.