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» The Worst Journey in the World

Flymo flashback
I was a travelsickly child (still am occasionally though haven't done the old chuckyuppy in a decade or more). My parents, being understanding souls, consequently dragged me round the country at speed on a regular basis - I saw very little of the countryside but loads of the sky from my position flat on the back seat trying to pretend we weren't moving.

Came one Friday, I was about 10. Dad's been away all week on a works thing and, as it's school holidays, Mum drags me out on the trip to collect him. 40 miles later, I'm green in the back, attempting to look pleased at return of absent parent whilst simultaneously swallowing rising vom. Dad sees my pallor and decides to speed up in an attempt to get home more quickly - cue tiny child in back seat:

'Can we stop?'
Loud tut. 'No, I'm on a dual carriageway. Is it desperate?' Cheeks and eyes bulge dangerously in response.
'I can't stop' - he rolls down the automatic back window, I stick my head out and win awards for projectile vomiting for England...

...there was this guy mowing the grass verge. He had no chance.

I still wake up sometimes remembering his face as he saw us approaching.
(Sat 9th Sep 2006, 20:42, More)

» Barred

Slow but satisfying
I managed to get myself barred from my primary school tuckshop at the advanced age of 9.

You may recoil in horror at my heinous crime. I blush to recall it even after almost 30 years, and have spent countless hours on my knees in search of absolution. Read on only if not of a nervous disposition:

The Head himself told the teacher in charge of the tuckshop not to serve me again because... I TOOK TOO LONG TO DRINK A DINKY BOTTLE OF GINGER POP AT BREAKTIME.

Despite my strenuous defence that I'd be in even bigger doo-doo had I burped through my next lesson, the punishment stood and I was never again allowed to drink from the well of ginger fizz.

It was crap pop anyway.
(Thu 31st Aug 2006, 21:24, More)

» Spoilt Brats

Long train journeys are very enjoyable when it's quiet - by which I don't mean actually quiet, but calm - kids are occupied and playing happily, no-one is bellowing at their mate at the other end of the carriage etc. On one Sunday evening I was on a trip back from Edinburgh, so far all had gone well. Until a woman with the most revolting little girl-child got on and the girl proceeded to shout and scream her way down more than a hundred miles to Derby - ’I want to sit near the window! WAAAAAAAI wanna sit near the window!!!!!’ Etc. Every time, her mother allowed her to scream and shout for a good five minutes before allowing her to do just what she wanted. The little brat thought nothing of climbing over her mother, basically shoving her out of the way to get her own. She stood up, jumped up and down on the seat, and responded with the same ear-curdling WAAAAAAA I WANNA each time Mummy tried to impose some discipline. Frankly Mummy looked as though she just wanted a couple of big tranqs and a quiet night in.

The whole carriage heaved a sigh of relief when they eventually walked out to the doors - whilst the train was still moving at a considerable speed we could just hear a distant ’I want to open the door NOW’, and I must confess that both I and the elderly lady sharing my table agreed we fervently hoped she'd get her wish. Sadly it wasn't to be.
(Fri 10th Oct 2008, 19:10, More)

» Cheap Tat

Not the best Valentine's ever...
I'm not the world's greatest fan of cut flowers, fluffy toys or boxes of chocs, which makes me tricky to buy for at certain times of year. An ex of mine once had the bright idea of purchasing, as a lovely romantic Feb 14th treat, a lump of vivid blue rubbery plasticy stuff with wiring, metal bits, battery operated, designed to look like a huge tongue. Not wanting to disappoint him I switched it on - it made a racket like an electric razor at about 90 decibels. Wow, I was in the mood already and probably so were most of my neighbours (thin walls in my block of flats). Shame it didn't actually seem to be doing anything else.

Apparently it cost in the region of 15 quid, though this wasn't made clear to me until I'd got out my nail scissors to hack into the thing and retrieve the overnoised, underpowered vibrating bullet that 'powered' it. Even removed from its casing it was seriously underwhelming, which was a shame since my feat with the scissors got me dumped and I could have done with a little battery-powered friend at that point. The biggest consolation was the realisation that at least his 15 quid went on something that was to prove we couldn't be compatible - hence saving the big wedding, inevitable divorce and ensuing legal costs. So perhaps it wasn't such a waste after all.

Um. That wasn't quite how I was expecting this one to go... Oh well.
(Mon 7th Jan 2008, 22:22, More)

» Stupid Tourists

You're from England, huh?
In one two-week visit to the US, crossing Georgia-Texas (not all in one go obviously), we were asked no less than 38 times - I counted, "Did y'all come on a plane?" My favoured response after the first 5 or so (before this I stuck with 'yes' and felt just as dumb) was, "No, we've got one of those new subaquatic Chevy trucks, they're all the rage back home." Far too many people took this seriously and two asked where they could get one and how much we paid.

Heard on bus heading down Charing Cross Road, "How do we get to Lee Chester Square?"

And the American son of my flatmate, visiting one summer, asked if I had any War Chester Shyer sauce. And didn't believe me when I told him the county in which I grew up is actually pronounced Wusstersher.

And my favourite, asked with a completely straight face, 'What does Mind The Gap mean?' It means don't fall down the bloody great hole between the train and the platform, dear. The same man also now believes 'wanker' is a term of endearment.
(Thu 7th Jul 2005, 19:21, More)
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