Saturday, March 24, 2007

Where No Roads Lead

I admire the Romans. They were marvellous polymaths; engineers, strategists, art-lovers, law-makers and all-round winners. That a small city state could conquer and command the majority of the known world almost 2000 years ago is rather remarkable, an achievement greater than the British or any other Empire, with the exception perhaps of McDonalds.

They were particularly gifted at road-building. At its peak, the Roman road system spanned 53,000 miles (85,300 km). Many of the routes are still in use today, including Ermine Street, the origin of the A1, the Great North Road in Britain. Luton airport lies very close to this road, as does my house.
The Romans tried to make inroads to the east of the country. They got as far as Norwich, took one look at the flat fog-shrouded fens, and turned around.
To this day there are Norfolk* Inroads worth mentioning!

* Pronunciation guide: nawr-fuh k

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Where All Roads Lead

It is very difficult to maintain the impression of a miserable, bored, lonely old hag who never does anything or goes anywhere with anyone when one is flying off to Rome in a few hours with a handsome, dashing 36-year old clergyman.

Parts of that sentence are fictitious. Can you guess which?

Ciao for now x

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Magnificent Edifice

I have an appetite for Hungary. It is delicious. The food is hearty, well-cooked and honest. The architecture is grand whilst humbly crumbling. The people are warm, friendly and, in many cases, freakly odd-looking. I'd be quite a catch in Budapest, if only by dint of the fact that I have all my own limbs, teeth, hair and a full compliment of senses.

I tried going native. That is, I visited the Széchenyi Baths, the Magyar equivalent of Parisian cafes. The entire Hungarian population decants here to chat, play chess, have a massage, often surreptitiously from what I have read but fortunately, the combined effect of the steam and lack of contact lenses prevented me from confirming this first hand, as it were. The whole scene is almost balletic. Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals kept running through my head.

Powerful jets whoosh the heavily-mineralised, naturally hot waters about, leaving me glaze-eyed and my swimming costume stretched out of shape. The follow-up massage was more matter-of-fact than made to relax. It was so good, I went back for another the following day.

I may return next year.

Jack, meanwhile, admired the architecture of Amsterdam. He described the tall, gabled buildings, complete with winch hooks perfectly, the design choices in their hotel, the large windows. He was less forthcoming on how his friend, Rob, whose 18th birthday had prompted the trip, came to have ' The End' written upon his chest in black marker. It appears that one doesn't need limbs in Holland to hold a pen.

Jack will definitely be back.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dam Nation

It is one of those milestones that every mother dreads, believes will never happen to them but is powerless to prevent. It has happened many times before to millions of others with varying outcomes. One cannot divert or postpone this ancient rite of passage. All one can do is pray, trust in his judgement. And hope doesn't fall into a canal in the process.

I shall be away in Budapest for the next few days. Jack, meanwhile, will be spending a quiet few days with half a dozen friends on a cultural tour of Amsterdam. Somehow I don't think the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank's House will be on their itinerary.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

De Do Do Do De Da Da Da - Blog's Too Big Without You

I haven't gone yet and I wouldn't leave without saying goodbye. I am continuing to experience Bloggers Block. I can't keep apologising. Although I should. It's shameful behaviour.

I had every intention of sitting down and making a thorough and comprehensive visit to each and everyone of you lovely people last week. I got as far as Joyce and was so engrossed in her raw, real words, time ran away with me. I shall make amends, appropriate to the individual. Eventually.

Cream, I shall be in Toon early April. I may pop in for pizza. Mike, I'll be passing the end of your road late tomorrow night on my way to Cambridge. Give us a wave. Seany, I was there, at the Elizabeth Hotel on Littlecoates Road last Thursday night. Where were you? Pete, I calculate I will have swum approximately 50000 kilometres by the middle of April. It will have to be a very large steak indeed. Dave, I bet you've had your gladstone bag packed and waiting by the door since Saturday afternoon. I'll bring some Werther's Originals for the journey.

I'm also in talks with Homo Escapeons and Within Without. We hope to reveal further details of the Inaugural International Interlinking Informal In Person In Iceland event very soon.

Finally, today I have awarded Tiger Nation as the Official Best Bloke of The Year and Perhaps Ever. Thanks for the Police tickets, mate. Every little thing you do is magic x