Monthly Archives: January 2012

Doogie Howser MD, big ears and the lamest of all weathers

Firstly I want to apologise for using “less” in a couple of places in the blog yesterday where I should have used “fewer”. I did get an A in GCSE English so I feel I’ve let myself down a little bit.

Tangential rant: I was unfortunate enough last night to catch an episode of “How I Met Your Mother”. It made me cross then, and I’m still feeling cross now. I have now watched 3 episodes of this frankly, execrable “comedy” show and felt the time has finally come to express myself fully on the matter. Now, I like a good American sitcom. MOR stuff like New Girl or Big Bang Theory are perfectly acceptable. I wouldn’t say they make me laugh but they act as comforting hamburger television for when you can’t be bothered turning your brain on. More positively I really like Scrubs and Arrested Development, both have sparkling, creative scripts and can be funny enough to force a laugh or two.

So yeah, I’m not against the concept of American comedy.

I am against How I Met Your Mother. I’m still struggling to pinpoint why it’s such a trainwreck of a show. The cast is decent enough – Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doogie Hoswer, both awesome! yay! – but the script!

Oh ye gods! The script!

Leaden, grinding, miserable. There’s no sparkle, or verve, or wit. There’s flickerings of creativity in the format but it’s never fully exploited. The editing is poor, the camerawork poor even the audience laughtrack is poor. The entire thing is just so POOR. It ends up as half-watchable because of how poor it is. I was hating every minute of it, and yet I couldn’t drag myself away. it was like watching a man being slowly eaten by a leopard. The man being your childhood best friend and the leopard actually being a 16 foot inflatable Piers Morgan.

I really, really, really don ‘t like it.

Like wind. (TANGENT 2) I really dislike wind too. The blowy sort. Erm, the blowy outsidey sort. NOT THE BOTTOM SORT. It was a horrible swirly wind today, the sort that blows in your face whatever direction you’re moving in. Very, very depressing. What is it with wind? I mean, what’s the point of wind really? Before wind turbines, kites and wind surfing what was it actually useful for? Nothing, that’s what. It’s the lamest of all weathers.

Yeah, pretty crap day really, what with my back still aching and… another…. medical complaint I won’t detail here that was rather unpleasant. I’m just about to watch the last episode of Sherlock so perhaps that’ll cheer me up. The acting was so bad in the last one I almost decided to give up on it, but I’m willing to give it one last chance. Did you see the last Sherlock? It had a guy in it with the biggest ears I’ve ever seen! I think he’s a comedy actor normally, but WOW the ears. If you get a chance do check them out on iPlayer. Make sure you’ve got a widescreen laptop though. Normally I wouldn’t be cruel about a physical deformity, but they really were ridiculous. He couldn’t act either, not just because I was staring at his ears all the time. I wonder if the two are related? I can’t think of any truly great actors with big ears. Leonard Nimoy perhaps, but then they were prosthetic….

Wow, bit of a ramble that. Sorry.

See you tomorrow!

Utilitarian cheese

Ye gods!

The rain.

I forgot what a bloody nightmare it was doing anything in the rain when you have glasses. I also regret my “cheapest lenses possible” policy, as what with the coating of water and the steaming up (and the dark and a failing headtorch) I constantly felt like an Italian cruise ship captain struggling to stay on course.

At least I didn’t trip into a lifeboat. (Too soon?)

Still managed 10km, but I’d pulled my back out a bit as I woke up and since I’ve been out running it’s been absolute agony. Hopefully it’ll sort itself out overnight.

I thought today, rather than take a few more cheap shots at the French (tempting though that might be) I’d list the five things I most miss about the UK. (What this amounts to is another thinly disguised list of things I don’t like about the French)

What I miss most about the UK

1) The BBC

You pay a licence fee in France. Or at least some sort of charge for having an ariel on your house and it’s roughly the same amount as the UK licence fee. But while the UK offers multiple commercial-free TV and radio channels for your money, as well as a suite of on-demand and catch up services online, the French licence TV basically appears to just allow you to watch fat, sweaty men discussing politics, or badly dubbed German cop shows interrupted with adverts every 3 minutes. I can’t stress how wonderful the BBC is, and you only really appreciate this when you don’t have ready access to it. Thankfully, tuning to the World Service in the car I can have a little oasis of Britishness in the middle of Franceland, but when I hear people complaining about the licence fee (especially people who pay 25 quid a month for Sky) I want to scream.

2) People in villages

Bit of a strange one, but I really miss the general “life bustle” of the UK. In France if it’s cold; dark; raining; hot; windy; foggy; October through February or lunchtime nobody leaves their homes. It’s genuinely weird. Most villages in France, most of the time, look like they’re preparing for a zombie attack. Houses will have their shutters closed and only the occasional stray dog will break the silence as it skips through the tumble-weed. In contrast people in the UK make the best of any opportunity to go outside. If the weather tips the right side of hurricane then villages are packed full of people wandering about, gossiping and passing the time of day. The contrast is so striking, whenever I cycle through the UK into France it always makes me feel very homesick.

3) Cheddar

You have to accept that the French are largely going to consume their own homegrown cheeses. Cheddar isn’t a big thing here. Our local supermarket carried a couple of UK brands of cheddar for a while but you couldn’t help notice that week after week the shelves remained fully stocked, and fairly soon they gave up on the idea. Inevitably I’ve had to transition to the French equivalent of cheddar known as Comte. It’s the same sort of utilitarian “works-with-everything” cheese as cheddar is, but it tastes a little more…. complicated. After a while you get used to it, but I miss a nice plasticky Tescos cheddar.

4) Takeaways

I used to live in Scotland near some quite scummy towns. As everyone knows the worse the town, the better the takeaways, as they can’t afford to sell bad food or they’ll get their windows stoved in. Nothing on the planet matches a dirty, MSG-laden Scottish Chinese. I’ve been back to the UK many times, and I’ve often found myself in Portsmouth or Dover with time to spare, desperate for a decent Chinese takeaway, but there isn’t one. In fact, thinking about it, I’m not sure I’ve found a single decent Chinese takeaway anywhere in England or Wales. You can get Chinese takeaways in France but they aren’t the same. They take them a bit too seriously – they’re a little too healthy and you can’t get egg fried rice. The French also don’t understand kebabs. I once had an argument with a kebab “artisan” near Caen that hand-making his pitta breads and putting organic salad in the kebab was missing the point entirely.

5) Driving

Generally driving on the continent is pleasant. Less speed cameras. Better maintained roads. Less traffic. But I crave driving with people who understand roundabouts. Where priority is always given to the person on the main road, not a random punter merging from the right. Where flashing your headlights to say thanks rather than “get out of my way” is the norm. Where people can overtake without pretending to be Ayton Senna. I also don’t like changing gear with my right hand.

So there you have it. My ideal day would be driving through some heavily populated villages, listening to Radio 4, eating a cheese sandwich and patting a bag of hot, filthy Chinese food by my side.

I am a simple man.

Ultraman!

Why am I running? It’s a question I asked myself today as I plodded for 10km.

(Apologies for the maudlin tone and boring content of today’s blog. Back to fun and japes tomorrow, I promise).

Last year I had a clear goal – to run a marathon. I quite enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something I could really see myself becoming addicted to. I prefer distances between 10k and 21k, and this year I’d set myself a nebulous target of “getting faster” rather than “going further”.

What this means practically is probably running a 10k in under 40 minutes (current PB 43 minutes 47 seconds) and a half marathon in 90 minutes (current PB 107 minutes 13 seconds). Both are within my grasp, assuming I can return to my marathon fitness (and Janathon is doing a good job of that). I also pondered joining a running club, for a bit of motivation, camaraderie and an opportunity to speak French about more general things than cropping and animal husbandry.

So, there are some goals, but there isn’t a GOAL.

Over at rosshendry.com my evil rival for Janathon (for 4 or 5 days until he gave up/got distracted buying socks) revealed this week he was planning an 80km ultra marathon in August. I have to admit I had a slight twinge of jealousy. I’ve always been attracted to wild feats of endurance and you can’t argue that the marathon has lost its lustre somewhat since an unfit Eddie Izzard did 150 of them back to back while eating only ice-cream.

The ultra is the new marathon.

My problem with truly long-distance running is the fact you can’t really fudge the training. Even marathon distance you can muddle through as long as you’re fit – ultimately it’s only going to be 3 or 4 hours of hell, which as long as you’re a reasonable runner is bearable for most people. But beyond that you’re into the realms of serious endurance. I have a lot of admiration for people who can run 50km+, not only as a one off, but day after day after day. While I found the marathon itself fairly “easy” (relatively speaking) the recovery afterwards was painful, and protracted. Admittedly I had pushed fairly hard for the first 30k, but I was amazed at how much it wiped me out. I can only imagine how sore I’d feel if I tried double the distance or more.

I think the biggest sticking point for me is the training. To train for an ultra I think I’d need to be turning 150km a week or more. Last week I did 90km, and that was quite time consuming. 150km+ turns running into a job, not a recreational pursuit. The strain on my ageing body would also be pretty high. I’m not even sure I’m physiologically the right shape to even consider it. To be an ultra runner you need to be a skeleton with muscles attached and not a lot else. I’d fear for my knees and calf muscles.

I’m also worried about the type of people who enter ultras. By and large you’re going to be ranged against hardcore athletes. A marathon usually attracts a contingent of people wearing tutus or running the distance dressed as Bugs Bunny. There’s always going to be someone behind you in a marathon. In an ultra the slowest person is still going to be a force to be reckoned with. While I don’t have an issue with being last, I think I’d rather take part in an event where I was at least finishing among mid-table mediocrity.

So I guess I need to be realistic and put an ultra down as something I’ll try one day, but not this year. I’m not sure if this is cowardice, or realism. Or a mix of the two.

Best of luck to Ross though, and I’m sure he’ll acquit himself admirably.

*bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz* Oh, oh my God… I can fix that…. I can…. oh my God….

Well Day 17, and another 13km banked. I seem to be falling down the leaderboard again, mainly due to people who are just putting in random figures (“I think I ran about this far in about this time”). No GPS track no sale people!

The most exciting news of the day is the fact I’ve had a haircut!

My hair had reached the stage where it was going a bit curly which is normally the trigger to attack. Rather than spending 30 euros for a man dressed in a tight white T-shirt to trim off a couple of locks while rubbing his groin in my ear I have always preferred using my girlfriend’s hairdressing service.

She does two styles:

STYLE 1) Shave it all off, then tidy up any ragged bits with hand scissors.

STYLE 2) Shave most of it off; let the guard fall off the shaver; slip; make a large patch of my head bald; hysterically laugh then tell me to wear a hat for a month.

Today I got a Style 1, which was nice. In the past she’s specialised at giving me a Style 2 just before important business meetings, or job interviews. As there was nothing at stake today I figured a Style 1 was the most likely. It’s nice to feel fresh air on my scalp once again though because of reduced head friction my beret kept slipping off (a #frenchworldproblem if ever I’ve heard one).

Apart from my hedge trim, we also had to do some internet diagnosis of an animal problem today. One of our pigs has either been ill or randy for 2 weeks, and we wanted to know which. You know when you’re ill and you go on the internet to check the symptoms, and within 20 minutes you’re convinced you have cancer? Exactly the same thing happens when you’re trying to diagnose a farmyard animal issue. We started off being only mildly worried, but the internet left us convinced we  were going to be responsible for a global swine flu pandemic.

Sigh.

day16 anmy handsr cold

normlly i write these psts befre i go runng but tonightn i’m jus back froma short run and m yhand s are bloody freezing. i can’t really type so thisa oisd all youre gettingtodsay.

sorry.

Rubber gloves, olive oil and sticky tissue paper

Have you ever used a tin of magic expanding gap filler?

It always seems like such a good idea at the time, but inevitably the only things it manages to fill are your fingers, hair, nearby furniture and animals rather than the actual gap. Like superglue (a glue that only bonds fingers together and nothing else) expanding gap filler foam is notable by its inability to actually fill gaps. So it was with some trepidation today I picked up a can to try to fill a small crack in a wall. The nozzle of the can was missing, so I carefully custom made a replacement. I then scaled a ladder and began to delicately apply the foam to the gap.

5 minutes later, looking a little like the Michelin man, I descended in a cloud of foam and ran to the bathroom to try to scrub the bloody stuff off my hands, arms, face and legs.

Obviously the superglue and expanding foam manufacturers had shared some patents, as it was nearly impossible to remove. Soap? No. Oven cleaner? No. Pure alcohol? No. In desperation I tried scrubbing at my fingertips with a sheet of kitchen roll. I now had large bits of kitchen roll stuck to my hand, as well as the original foam. All very amusing for everyone else.

Not so amusing for ol’ tissue hands.

In desperation my partner searched on the Internet for a natural means of removal. So, it was that I found myself 5 minutes later with my hands smeared in olive oil and inside a pair of surgical rubber gloves. I needed plenty of convincing that this was a cure she had genuinely found on the internet, and not some cruel trick/perverted sex game. But I eventually relented and prepped for surgery. The internet had said “leave them on as long as possible”.

So, for two hours I wandered round like an oily mime act.

2 things I can report about having your hands coated in olive oil and then placed inside surgical gloves:

1) You can still operate a capacitive touch screen. I might mention this to Apple.

2) You can’t play a guitar. Well, you can, but the only strings that sound are the ones you aren’t pressing down.

After removing the gloves miraculously an lot of the glue had gone (thank you Internet!). But there was still quite a lot of it, and bits of tissue paper too, so my hands aren’t going to be appearing in any Fairy commercials any time soon. I’m sure it’ll rub off eventually. At least I hope so.

But anyhoo, the running. Just over 20km today. “That’s a lot!” I hear you cry. Yes, the duvet was chucked to the floor, and I headed out twice, the second into sub zero conditions, desperate to push myself back up the leaderboard.

It wasn’t pleasant. The cold froze the tissue paper to my fingertips. But I did it.

I AM FAIL

A rest day today.

It wasn’t going to be, but a couple of km into my run I felt completely out of breath and realised I’d forgotton to take a puff of Ventolin before I set out. Asthma doesn’t usually bother me when I’m running, but today was very, very, VERY cold and that can sometimes trigger it. So I sacked it in, called it a rest day and accepted I’d drop a few places in the leader-board. 4km total for the day is pretty poor, especially as my arch rivals all put in mega mileage.  I could go out again now, but I can’t be bothered.

A bit defeatist, yes.

I’ve never been a high achiever though. Most of my life I’ve ambled along selecting the path of least resistance. I have something of a knack for identifying actions that deliver maximum reward for minimum effort. I’ve generally been successful in life using this technique – usually at the expense of diligent hard working people

This behaviour has always extended into my sporting endeavours. I am not a natural winner. I do not have a killer instinct for victory. Once, in university, I managed to lose 24 consecutive games of pool. Fair enough if it was 24 games of pool against one person who was better than me – this was, in fact, a variety of opponents some of whom could barely hold a pool cue and spent most of the time with it stuck up their nose. I’m not a bad pool player but a I have a losers mentality, and by the time I’d fluffed the 7th or 8th game I was so convinced I was going to fail it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I only won in the end because one of the other players ate a ball or something equally ridiculous. I can’t remember now.

So yesterday’s small flicker of excitement that 6th place in Janathon was within reach was tempered with a realisation that I’d inevitably wake up to find the weekend runners had put the boot in. And sure enough, a quick check this morning saw me falling faster than a Pop Idol’s chart single after a drug scandal. The question is, how to react? A winner would step up to the plate. Grind out the miles. Get back in the fight. Make this a harmless, temporary failure blip not a permanent catastrophe.

But one shambling 4km run later and I’m holed up in front of the TV under a duvet.

I’m going to fight on. I want to be top ten, at least, by the end of January. I’m not sure why. Is there any difference between being 8th or 26th? There are no medals, ticker tape parades or naked dancing girls at the end of this. Just a sense of personal satisfaction.

Which has never, historically, been enough to motivate me to do anything.

Perhaps January 2012 is the month things change. Or perhaps I’ll just spend the next 16 days under this duvet.

Find out tomorrow!

A firing squad, budget crisps and Sting

22.5k on the bike, and 16km on the feet, putting the runthomasrun cat among the pigeons on the Janathon leaderboard and putting me within sniffing distance of sixth. I AM SNIFFING YOU.

Thankfully tonight’s run was an altogether more pleasurable affair. Not because it was any easier (as each day goes by I get more and more fatigued, and slower and slower) but because I experienced it at a natural brightness level (it was still dark, but not ultra-dark).

Why?

Because the phone call came through at about 10am this morning.

A morose man – with a tone of voice suggesting he was about to announce that my entire extended family had been wiped out in a gas explosion – informed me that my glasses were ready. ONE DAY ahead of schedule. Admittedly the schedule was already running 7 days and 23 hours longer than I expected, but you need to take good news where you can find it.

Back on the bike, and back into the local town I went. I figured nothing could possibly go wrong again. It didn’t. I am now the proud owner of a new “stylish” pair of glasses, with incredibly thick cheap lenses, that nip my right ear like a beaver and are so small that my world has become vertically letterboxed.

Still, mustn’t grumble. At least it’s bright again. I’m sure the OAPs of France will rest easy in their beds once more.

All the talk in France today is about the credit rating downgrade. If you don’t follow world economics basically Europe is up poo poo creek without a paddle. France is taking a battering from the credit rating agencies, and the National Front are on the rise ahead of the presidential elections in four months time. As a foreigner in this land with a long, tortuous blog complaining about the country I expect I’ll be first against the wall when the next revolution comes. Still, I figure if the firing squad need regular eye tests I’ll be safe for a while yet.

That said, with a potential shooting in mind, I thought I’d say something positive about the French today. That’s what I thought. When it came to action, things became trickier.

I finally remembered the thing I admire most about the French. It is the fact that they produce some absolutely cracking budget range crisps. I’m not saying the UK doesn’t do a decent entry level potato based snack – in fact we may be the world leader – but France does some terrific stuff too. I will warn you upfront – if you’re thinking of taking a voyage into French crisp heaven you need to steer clear of their nut flavoured crisps. Who in their right mind wants a peanut flavoured crisp? Wrong.

But where France beats the UK is in the provision of economy crisps that don’t really taste of anything. You might think that’s a bad thing, but France have nailed a number of crisp lines that feature a sort of anti-taste. These wonderful crisps taste of mouth, which means you can eat loads of them without feeling sick/full/satisfied.

It’s like sex with Sting.

The French have perfected Tantric Crisps.

With a Tantric Crisp you have an extended promise of a taste orgasm, but ultimate disappointment. But Sting will tell you the voyage, of course, is where the pleasure is. Only with a French Tantric Crisp can you truly experience an extended sensual experience unmatched by any Quaver or Monster Munch.

Probably the best example of Tantric Crisps are the miraculous Sabor Bacons. These crisps are only available from L’Eclerc (the French equivalent of Tescos) in their budget range. They are 38 eurocents for a surprisingly large bag and look a bit like a fat Frazzle. If you were grading crisps on taste from 10 to 1 these would need a score assigned on a different axis. They literally taste of nothing. Put a handful in your mouth and you wouldn’t know. In fact sometimes you can have a few in your mouth and suddenly realise 4 hours later when you lie back to go to sleep and start choking.

There is simply nothing on God’s snack based earth that compares with a bag of Sabor Bacons. I would go to war for a bag of Sabor Bacons. They truly are one of the greatest things the French have given to the world, and yet only a handful of people know about them.

Now, admittedly, as a first entry on our list of great things about France perhaps a bag of economy potato chips isn’t what a nation would aspire to, but we have to start somewhere.

Mainly because it’s the only thing I can think of at the moment.

Until tomorrow!

Inevitability, a swelling confidence and some pig sex

16km running today, and just under 20km on the bike. Both a bit slow, but it’s all about the distance. Also spent most of the day running round the pig fields i) trying to stop piglets escaping (there are 10 in total) ii) trying to stop pigs having sex.

The French have a saying “le client et roi“. Literally “the customer is king”.

Considering the French beheaded all their royalty long ago, the phrase has a certain truth to it. This was once again demonstrated today in the local opticians as The Glasses Saga entered its second phase. If you haven’t been reading the blog I recommend going back and reading the post with Daniel Powter’s mug at the top of it. If you don’t know what Daniel Powter looks like then just scroll down until you see a man who looks like a Freemans catalogue model with a beanie hat on. If the hat is black and the guy looks like he might be best suited to modelling footwear then it’s me. If not, you’re there. Read that, and then come back here.

Anyhoo…

I had a certain sense of foreboding this morning. Yes, for sure, I’d been told to turn up at 11am sharp on Thursday to pick up my new pair of glasses. Yes, for sure, I’d double and triple checked this and also told them to phone me if there was a delay. I’d covered all the bases. I had a bit of paper with a date and time on it, and that’s as good as a blood oath in France.

However, there was still a small flickering nugget of doubt in my mind. Not a linguistic doubt. Not a doubt that perhaps my average French had failed to get the message across. But a flickering doubt that if the French still had an opportunity to make my life a misery they would take it.

So, off I set to the local town. It’s local in the sense it’s 10km away. I debated running, but decided instead to take the bike. It was a fine day. My worries melted away. This was the sort of day when NEW GLASSES WOULD BE GOT.

I felt a swelling confidence.

At least I hoped it was my confidence.

I almost bounded into the optician. The French words and phrases for the conversation ahead had been prepared mentally (“glasses” “last week” “eleven o’clock” “Thursday” “brilliant, thanks!” “oh, they look lovely!” “thanks for all your assistance!“).

I was ready.

Ready for a world with the brightness and contrast controls set back to zero. Ready to see again! Whee!

The first tinge of self-doubt hit me when the original “optician” (or glasses sales representative as I suppose you need to call them, considering they can’t actually do eye tests) avoided me when I came in and ran off to hide in a back room somewhere.

10 minutes passed. Eventually she was forced to reappear and I collared her.

“I’m Mr Thomas” I said cordially “here for my glasses.”

I smiled in a way that suggested I was unhappy with the six day delay, but I was willing to put that behind us in the spirit of moving forwards towards a new situation where I was once again the owner of non-tinted glasses.

G.S.R’s face contorted like a dog sucking a polo.

“Ahhh” she said, like the air forlornly being let out of a child’s bike tyre.

“My glasses? ” I continued… “You said they would be ready today.” My smile had cracked slightly. I sensed something was wrong.

The polo was pushed around a little more. “Ahhhh…” (second tyre deflated) “…the glasses….” she said.

“The glasses….?” I prompted.

“…. they are not ready yet….the glass has not arrived in the post….”

Silence. A long silence. The Earth rotates. Civilizations rise and fall. Galaxies move apart. The sun begins to collapse.

She speaks again “…it will be ready on Saturday.”

“Saturday?” I say. The words croak from my mouth almost reflexively.

“…. Or maybe the week after. We will call you when they are ready.”

My mouth flapped like a goldfish. I searched for words, but none were there. So I just walked out (ss you can see confrontation isn’t one of my character traits. Mute acceptance of shitty things happening to me is more my style). As I went back out into the street my first thought was “At least it’s sunny! Maybe people won’t stare at my sunglasses!”

As I walked the short distance back to my bike I was proved wrong once again.

Seeing as the day was going so badly, I figured I’d go for another run after dark tonight, in the sunglasses and luminous cape, so I could terrify the local OAPs.

I figure if France is going to make me miserable then I’m going to make a few old French people terrified in return.

Until tomorrow!

Piglets!

Really, really, really, really, really didn’t want to go for a run today.

This running every day lark is punishing, but I dragged myself out and did the usual 10km course, still tracking about 13 minutes behind my PB for the distance. In the next few days I’m going to try a flatter course and push myself a bit, but today was not that day, and I was just happy to make it. Not a lot of interest happened. At one point I considered taking my pants off. I’m not going to go into any more detail than that, but I will assure you that I finally decided not to.

The big news in camp runningthomas was the arrival of 8 new piglets on the farm. Or possibly nine. It’s quite hard to count them. Here’s a photo of the proud mother:

Initially we thought we had seven, but another one or two popped out later on. It seemed logical at seven to name them after the seven dwarves. My 8 year old misheard and thought we should name them after the dwarves in the Hobbit. After some argument back and forth we decided that Thorin Porkenshield was quite a majestic name for a piglet, and we’d name the others along similar lines tomorrow.

I haven’t the willpower to write much more, but I did get an interesting spam message pop into my inbox yesterday in response to my rant against sports elitism. “Richard” from Human Kinetics says he loves the blog! Thanks Richard! He also wants to give me a free e-book about “breathing muscle training” and direct all of my readers to his site. Apparently the art of “powerbreathing” is all the rage, and taking the athletics world by storm. I’m afraid, Richard, that I must publicly decline your e-book and can offer no endorsement of your training methodology. I follow an alternative technique. Using the runthomasrun “Breathing Methodology” I simply consume sufficient oxygen to power myself through whatever task I’m performing utilising freely available gasses. My technique has certain dangers – if you refrain from my “Breathing Methodology” for prolonged periods it can damage brain function – however it is a tried and tested method which many carbon based life forms have been exploiting for millennia. My book will be out soon, and hopefully, dear readers, you’ll buy it instead of Richard’s.

Anyway, I’m tired and I need a poo. I will see you tomorrow – remember, Thursday is the exciting day when I finally get my new French glasses. I AM EXCITED! The perpetual nuclear winter I’m living in can come an end, and I can feel the sun on my cheeks once more.