Tuesday 28 June 2011

Noisy Clown

I'm on holiday (my mate Nick says it's pretentious and self-important to say you're "on leave" and I think he's right) and today I achieved a dubious variation on the triathlon concept - a 9 mile walk, 4 mile cycle ride, and 50 yard swim. The last bit was unimpressive not by reason of the cumulative physical strain but because the temperature is somewhere between "Titanic" and "The Cruel Sea". You can just see me in the picture framed by two tankers waiting to get into Milford Haven. I brought my shorty wet-suit (Asda £12.99) to the beach but don't wear it as it's a bit wussy to cheat unless you are snorkeling or similar.

I have also polished my Ray Mears credentials by finding a big specimen of parasol mushroom (macrolepiota procera) which we enjoyed for breakfast. It's great just fried in butter but our Mitteleuropäischer cousins (especially the Bohemians) like to dip it in egg and breadcrumbs first and make an excellent veggie schnitzel (usual warning - don't pick unusual mushrooms without expert advice unless you are yourself an expert: mistakes can be fatal).


The idea of Central Europeans as cousins is topical. We heard earlier in the week that geneticists have established that English people are closely related to the Germans. This was hardly a surprise as everybody knows that England was run, with a bit of help from the Romans, by the Welsh (then called Ancient Brits) until the Germans (then called Angles and Saxons) arrived and pushed them back to the fringes. But the Sun newspaper is agitated about this news and has provided practical self-testing tools for worried English people to check their propensity for humourlessness, leather shorts, beach-towel crimes, megalomaniacal bids for world domination, etc. But Sun readers will no doubt reflect carefully and appreciate that they are as much the cousins of Handel, Goethe and Frederick the Great as they are of that noisy clown Richard Wagner, wicked supremacist Oswald Spengler, and, yes, him. We can all choose which of our relations we should emulate.