Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Right then. Life, linguistics and Laphroaig. Okay, life it is.

My car died yesterday. Well, I say died but that might be stretching things a bit. Let's say seriously wounded, shall we? Yes, that's much better.

There I was tootling along merrily when the temperature guage shot up to 115°C and steam started escaping from under the bonnet. Now not being in the least bit mechanically minded, I lifted the hood more in a spirit of curiosity than in the belief that I might be able to actually do anything about it but, even with my untrained eyes, the sight of water pumping out of one of the cooling hoses like blood from a ruptured aorta led me to diagnose the problem in an instant.

Five miles from the nearest settlement as I was at the time, the Bugadifino gland kicked in...you don't know the one? Then allow me to explain. Imagine if you will, a beautiful, deserted, tropical beach upon which you are reclining in the dead of night. Above you is a cloudless sky, peppered like buckshot with myriads of scintillating celestial bodies. As is your wont on such occasions, your mind turns to considering such ponderables as, "Why are we here?" and "What is it all about?" And, in the deep, dark recesses of your brain, a gland awakes and a familiar, friendly voice in your head says, "Bugadifino" which was exactly the reply I received yesterday when I posed the question, "What am I gonna do now?"

So, after standing around like a complete pillock for a few minutes and musing upon the fact that machinery wins hands down over Zen Buddhism when it comes to relieving one of one's ego, my brain finally made some very important connections.

1. I have just been shopping.
2. There is a whole crate of mineral water in back.

Well, there was no three, really. I didn't stop to consider whether the rate at which I could empty twenty, one and a half litre bottles of water into the reservoir would exceed that at which it was haemorrhaging out of the hose like the first piss of a night's heavy drinking, I just went for it.

I got home with two bottles to spare.

Anyhow, seeing as how I was supposed to be attending the first parents' council meeting at the nursery school my daughter goes to, I considered it to be evidence of the hand of fate. I simply was not meant to be there.

Nevertheless, said hand has been rather active of late with respect to my vehicular transport. Apart from the leak in the hose, the cooling system is buggered anyway, the ventilator has breathed its last, the window ratchet on my side has gone, the rear windscreen wiper will flip no more, the lock on the boot is inoperable and, as I drive, there is an ominous sound coming from beneath the car reminiscent of the opening minutes of "Apocalypse Now!" where the ceiling fan is doing its helicopter impression...thwop...thwop...thwop.

So, like Lamps yesterday, it was public transport for me today. Unlike the Sheffield experience however, buses in Hungary run frequently, on time and always stop where they are supposed to. So, why do I hate using them so? Having to get up at 6.30 in the morning to get to work for 8.00 might have some bearing on the matter. Or maybe it's the incurable snob in me rebelling against the necessity of boarding a bus and bringing myself into close physical proximity with entirely the wrong class of person. And just how do mothers balance a briefcase, three bags of shopping and a three year old, with only two hands and still succeed in proffering the correct change to the driver?

"Right!" I hear you cry, "That's enough of the life for one day. What about the linguistics?" Hmmm. A classroom anecdote may suffice. It was a Monday morning and me being as per, a little slow to hit high gear, I got a class talking about their weekend. One of them, a hunter, piped up "Last Saturday, I shat three rabbits." I mean, how priceless is that? I shall be forever in his debt as whenever I think of it, I still get a wonderful image of Elmer J Fudd, trousers round his ankles, buttocks to camera and with an obvious strain on, popping out three little bunnies.

Oh, and did you know that the verb 'to buttonhole' is a corruption of the verb 'to buttonhold'? No? Shame on you.

So...that leaves only Laphroaig. I'll have to loosely apply this one but I have found some lovely alcohol related stories in the news recently which I reproduce below for perusal at your leisure.


Germany wins again. Germany has regained the European drink-driving record. A Worms man found comatose in his car later tested for a blood-alcohol level of 5.3%, 11 times the limit and well beyond the level at which death should set in.


Mike Murphy, an officer with Springfield, Missouri, police, was a bit too much like Homer Simpson. Finding 70 beers seized by the underage drinking squad, he drank the lot. His lawyer said Murphy was following force policy by disposing of the beer. "And turning beer into urine is disposal," he insisted. Despite this novel defence, Murphy was fired.


And finally. What about the Finnish bank robbers who were so drunk that the manager talked them into accepting a loan?


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