Sunday, 22 June 2014

Number 23

I like to think this letter will be the start of a lifelong correspondence to rival that between Lord Chesterfield and his son, in which Freddie thanks me warmly for my advice, and describes how it has taught him the fine art of becoming a gentleman. Perhaps a slightly more likely scenario is that he will greedily rip it open, and when he sees there is no cash inside, drop it unread onto the floor.

Number 22

There are two ways to do this. The cowardly way would be to find a lonely bend in the Thames, get in the water with shorts on and remove them under water, carefully watching to make sure there's no one around, and trying not to attract attention.
I, however, will buy a ticket for a family swimming session at the Windrush Leisure Centre, and strip off in the changing room. I will march proudly to the pool, shout a cheery 'Good morning, families' before entering the pool with my famous 'sea lion' dive. People like confident people, so I expect quite a lot of the families and staff will come up and congratulate me on my boldness.

Number 18 update

An anatomically accurate map of my heart, with all the people, things and places that have a place in it. I couldn't get a good run of time to do this one, so did it in five-minute bursts. It deserved better! And yes, it's deliberately blurred. Oh yes, too damn right it is.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Number 21 update

I wake up extremely tired and hungover at 8 o'clock to the great news it's my big lie-in. It couldn't have come on a better day. I go straight back to sleep and dream about a ridiculously flamboyant chef on an Inca boat, who is in trouble with the modern day police for some reason. As he is eventually led away, I am woken by some polite and high-pitched throat clearing. It's an extremely smiley, miniature waitress, waiting to take my breakfast order. I order a cooked breakfast with coffee and close my eyes again. More throat clearing. 'Any ketchup or brown sauce?' 'Brown sauce, please'. Five minutes later, I'm woken again. 'We haven't got any brown sauce.' 'OK' I doze again. Some time later ... 'Ahem ... would you like any sauce?' I'm awake now anyway, so I leaf through 'The Visual History of the World' for the first time since I bought it at a car boot sale eight years ago. I'm examining the photo of Mussolini strung up by the feet when the waitress comes in with my tray. It's a large breakfast with coffee and juice following on the next delivery – not a bad feat for someone who's microscopic.
I almost never have a cooked breakfast these days, but today the idea of eating three pounds of fried meat before leaving my bed seems an excellent one. It turns out to be a lot better than a poke in the eye, too – can't be faulted on any technical points such as touching beans and egg. When the waitress pops in to ask if everything's OK, I tell her it's 'flippin' delicious'. She goes away, but returns a few minutes later and hands me a note. 
She takes away the breakfast stuff as I turn to a photo of the Battle of Badajoz for my last ten minutes of relaxation. On the dot of eleven, I  get the bill.
Blimey. She's back again. She seems to think it's funny.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Number 21

This might not look like much of a challenge to the untrained eye. But the point is, I haven't had a lie in for about 20 years, and am not sure if I remember how to. As luck would have it, I will be very tired tomorrow following England's dramatic 3-1 win over Italy (Cahill, Sturridge, Rooney; Balotelli). You read it here first.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Number 20 update

Derek stops off at a café in Wolverhampton on the way up to Lancashire, and selects a beef and onion pie. 'Shall I tip the gravy all over your food or not?' 'Yes please' says Derek, who likes to live a little.

After a gruelling journey, he poses proudly in his first youth hostel porch ...
'What a splendid organisation!' says Derek, who is of limited means himself. 
'My goodness, this sea air has made me hungry!' announces Derek. A chicken jalfrezi outside Ye Old Fighting Cocks is just the job.
But then Derek trips and 'falls' into a glass of snakebite. Oh dear - we had been warned about this.
'Don't go out on the sand, Derek!' we shout, 'It's very dangerous!' 'Don't give a ****,' says Derek. 'Try stopping me.'
Unfortunately, Derek seems a little belligerent after his accident. 'Which of you ***** wants to fight me?'
We calm him down and persuade him to climb the Knott. 'Jesus, my ******* chest is ******* heaving. Has NO ****** got a fag?' 
And there's still time before bed to borrow a fellow hosteller's car. 'Cheers, Kelvin, that was ******* ace - did a ton round ******* Windermere'.
The next morning Derek is a little bleary-eyed.  We take him down to The Posh Sardine in Arnside for a strong cup of coffee. 'It's a little bit drizzly today, isn't it,' he points out.   
But he's a game little fellow, and tackles the rugged walk to Silverdale. 'Oh, aren't the plants high!' he exclaims.
'Oh dear - I'm rather scared of heights!'
'What perfectly lovely views!' gasps Derek in awe.
Made it at last. 'Let's have a nice cup of tea,' suggests Derek sensibly.
In a jaunty mood on the train, Derek wears his cap 'Robin Hood style'.
Next day it's off to Morecambe. 'Oh my, what a beautiful sandy beach!' enthuses Derek.
He enjoys strolling along the front, and browsing the second-hand bookshop. 'Some jolly exciting books in here,' he comments.
 Then Derek disappears for an hour. Where can he be? 
Oh there he is, in a shop. He's playing the giddy goat. 'I wondered when you'd raise your ugly ******* head,' he says.
'Can't get any ******* sense out of these ******** - they appear to be ******* idiots,' appraises Derek.
Next morning, he has to say goodbye to his little holiday friend. 
'What a perfectly wonderful mini-break I've had!' ejaculates Derek.