Thursday, February 08, 2007

The frozen wastes of Croydonia

Took the old Alvis skating this morning. Numpties everywhere, who shouldn't be permitted on the public highway without the red-flag chap running them in line ahead.
Being a chap of lantern-jawed resolve, and the skill at anything only found in Chap Of The Colonies, driving said horseless carriage to the old hamster wheel was a doddle.
More than can be said for the rest of the buffoons glissading their way across the highways of the Southern Smoke. The best thing to do is reside indoors, slip on your favourite dressing gown and slippers, load up the hookah, and await the soothing unctions of finest Lebanese take away your desire to venture forth. It may come to pass dear reader, that you will need food/ale/chocolate digestives/rizlas. and the garishly lit aisles of Mr. Tesco will require a visit. You will soon start to wistfully gaze upon your car keys and thinking about a fools errand. Fear not - a Chap is always prepared! Hear is my 'Cut-out and Keep' guide to winter driving:

1. Wear warm clothing. Stout tweeds, and insulated fez and double-glazed monocles should suffice. The wearing of gloves, mufflers or 'utility clothing' merely marks you out as hoi-polloi, and liable to rendering your porters restless.
A good lady friend swears by woolly tights. Naturally a chap should avoid such things unless of a theatrical persuasion, or if you suffer from cold knees. In which case, prepare a ready excuse for your lady wife when she occasions upon them in the laundry basket - 'They are my secretary's' normally works.
The snow is also the only time that brown brogues are permitted inside the M25.

2. Engage the correct number of porters. These will be required for the radios, supplies, botanising equipment and medicinal properties. They can also be on hand to bribe local officials, and to take the whip to any buffoon who gets in your way. 153 should suffice. bear in mind, they will need careful handling, and are liable to mutiny if you do not maintain an air of absolute authority. A sign of weakness, hesitation whilst under danger, or even a shiver against the cold will be seen as weakness, and they will exploit that to the full. I find selecting one at random in the morning and thrashing him is good for their behaviour and your amusement.

3. Hot food is essential. Should one find yourself awaiting the poltroon in the jack-knifed lorry to finally work out that he should call the RAC, one will need hot nourishing sustenance that is both filling and portable. I recommend a tureen of kedgeree is kept on a spirit burner on the back seat, and a warming Irish stew is kept at a suitable temperature in the engine bay. Your Moroccan boy will only be too delighted to remain within the engine compartment for stirring duties - as it will be a dash-sight warmer than the streets of South Norwood. Porters can be sent to forage for fresh rolls from Mr Greggs. Binders Butter Beans are a good addition.

4. Medicinal supplies. Should one find oneself in a crevasse, trapped on an ice-wall or short in sight of the summit, then strong medicine is required - and Champagne is strong medicine indeed. It should be only administered under the strictest medical supervision, or on the direct orders of the expedition leader. Use wisely, but apply liberally. See below for dosages. Morphine is recommended too. I prefer it in the Laudanum form, as this is especially useful for numbing the bone shattering pain of a supermarket checkout queue.

5. Rescue and scientific equipment. A minimum list includes: Crampons, 100 yards manila rope, four ice axes, pneumatic ice shovel, avalanche mortar, Lee-Enfield rifle (Yeti basher as we call 'em), lancet, 100 leeches, large canvas mess-tent, paraffin stove for 6 pans, carpet slippers, short wave wireless telegraphy set, marine sextant and reduction tables, two shovels, life belt, glacier cream, 100 gold sovereigns, two packets milk chocolate, a pint of brandy and 240 bottles of champagne. Anything else is a little trivial, and would overload your facilities.

6. Finally you should ask - is my trip really necessary - why should I go? If the answer is 'I must go to work', then it most certainly is not. if it is 'I need a new corkscrew to open a fresh bottle of Aloxe-Corton', then venture you must - for Bacchus must not be denied!

So - suitably equipped, one should find the drive to Mr. Tesco's pleasant and and enjoyable adventure for all the family.


Theo Spark said...

I heartily agree with you.

Nicodemus said...

Thank You Theo, I'm afraid the snow has left us, and we are treated to noble drizzle!

Anonymous said...


At least a doff to W.E. Bowman would be polite.

Else you will be followed by a lurking suspicion

Nicodemus said...


Of course, the hat tips to Mr Bowman are contained within - and a true reader of said would feel the warm glow of recognition.