The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man…


Little blue books are becoming a thing with me. It could be a newly-found addiction. Next week I will try something that is already read.

I read this book a while ago. No, that’s not quite right. I started reading this book a while ago and finished it sometime later. My book reading is strange and  I can often put a book down for years whilst in mid-read and come back to finish it off much later. This book was not like that, but it did take some will-power to see me over the rump of its initial appeal.

I happened upon the novel by way of my neighbour and former cycling companion. He had started reading my blog and was interested in some of the stuff that I had been reading. He never gave me any feedback on my own writing, but I expected as much (or as little). The Hundred-Year-Old Man came as part of a bilateral book exchange. He got Graham Swift’s Waterland and I got this. At first, I thought he had the best out of the deal. On second thoughts, I think he got the best of the deal.

This little blue book is knowingly amusing. It plays with the genre of the ageless protagonist not only living through world-shaping events, but also playing an unwittingly major role in those seismic changes. It is amusing and annoying in turns in the same way that Forest Gump was. It does, however, keep its true soul to the end when the author speaks, Jonas Jonasson, and this left me with a rather enjoyable bitter-sweet aftertaste.

It’s not something that will live in my memory for all time, even now it is fading, but it was worth the read. I am, however, looking forward to getting Waterland back and must build a bridge to reestablish contact after a number of very quiet months during this endless winter.


Now, to work…

Words of Wisdom…

images-518 images-520


I was struggling for something to write this morning. I knew that I wanted to write, but understood that, if I pushed it, it would sound trite. I found these two instead.


I like them…


I hope you do too…





I Defy You Stars…Yes, and that helped Romeo didn’t it?


Eugene Christophe Tour de France



I always associate the Tour de France with colour. Firstly, there are the colourful fields of sunflowers that have come to symbolise this yearly adventure and then there are the team kits. In 1919, just after the slaughter of the Great War, the Tour set about its pilgrimage around the departments of France. As money was in short supply and industry had not yet recovered from the black and white of conflict, dyes, ironically, were not in abundance. So, the decision was made to wear grey. The problem here was that if everyone looked the same, how could anybody identify the race leader as the peloton flashed past? The answer was to kit the leader out in a different coloured shirt, yellow.


It was the Frenchman, Eugene Christophe who was presented with the first ever maillot jaune after he had led the race for several stages with only five to go. Some in the watching crowd thought this rather amusing as the poor bicyclist looked like a canary so, they laughed. Christophe was non-too impressed. This, after all, was his renaissance as he had been denied victory in the 1913 race through an unfortunate series of events. Christophe had taken the lead from Odile Defraye of Belgium and was building a commanding overall lead when he was hit by a stray motorcar. Remember that this was 1913.


Anyway, the upshot of this was that Christophe was unhurt, but his front fork had been snapped in two. As many cyclists appreciate, bodies can heal themselves but bikes cannot. I’ve seen plenty of cyclists take a tumble, tear off skin, splinter bones, and bleed, but the first thing many of them do is to check that their bike is alright. Cyclists are a selfless sect.


Poor old Christophe’s race was run, but he was accepting non of it. Instead of throwing in the towel, he threw his injured bike onto his back and ran eight-and-a-half to the next village, where he found a forge. Like many of his ilk, he was a skilled mechanic and was able to forge a new fork. He ought to have received a jersey just for that! However, he made the mistake of asking a seven-year-old boy to work the bellows that fed the flames. Never play with flames in the Tour de France unless you wish to be caught and punished (eventually…ask Lance Armstrong).  As a result of his ingenuity, Christophe was penalised 10-minutes for using outside assistance.


You would think that this story deserved a happy ending, but it didn’t get one. In the 1919 race he broke his forks and came third. Again, in 1922, he was in the top three contending the race when…guess what? Yup, the bloody fork snapped again.



It would appear that no matter how hard you try, no mater how good you are, or how unlucky you have been, sometimes destiny does not smile on you.



How I Use This Blog…


It’s nice to come home to the blog at the end of a working day. It’s good to sit down and see what has been going on. It’s wonderful to enter a world of imagination and self-reflection. 

Oh, my lord, I sound like a tree-hugger. 

Just got back in from work where I have wrestled the very soul of young humanity for the twin prizes of teaching and learning. The kids have been disruptive, argumentative, and obstructive. The word disobedient no longer holds meaning. I expect a rough time and that helps me to plan for it.

In Japan, they expect earthquakes. In some island states, they expect land-swallowing tides. In the United States they expect Trump to be dismissed from office for being a genetically-developed bullfrog with the mind of a greedy five-year old at a birthday party. The reason why his skin looks so orange is that he ate all the cake and jelly and trifle and drank all the fizzy drinks.

My blog is a stop-valve. It gives me chance to say something without having to announce myself to my fellow man. On I am semi-invisible. Having said that, I try to keep my deepest thoughts out of reach as my wife thinks that somebody will get hold of them and use them against me.

“What? Like destroy my teaching career?”

My blog keeps me company in the good and the dark days. I shouldn’t say this, but there are many things that I write that I find to be good work or that actually make me laugh. There are times when I think back to something that I have posted and try to find the part of it that I believed was a specific nugget of humour or wisdom; and then I repost it.

I repost frequently as I have a website that resembles a local authority tip. I just throw everything in there and hope for the best. I am a hoarder. My refuse I can not refuse.


Look at my stuff: