I once saw a road sign near Durham that read ‘Gan Canny’. This is Geordie for ‘Go Slow’. Despite a relatively fast-lane reputation, I love going slowly and often make a point of ambling along and staring at things for ages.
And so I’m excited (if you can be excited slowly) to learn that London is currently experiencing a Slow Down project, run by the excellent Tessa Watt who I know from her time at Radio 4.
I’m hoping to attend some of the events, slowly of course.
It’s good to see that rabbit showjumping has now taken off in the UK.
The English asparagus season is upon us and so I scuttled off to Waitrose to buy a ’round of grass’ as it’s correctly called. Imagine my horror when I looked at the label and it was from PERU – 6,320 miles away.
It’s wrong to buy food from Peru. They eat guinea pigs and they evicted Paddington.
Asparagus should come from Worcestershire – preferably from the Vale of Evesham. And so off I tootled to Tesco, only to discover that their asaparagus was from WARWICKSHIRE.
Has the world gone mad?
Why do shop assistants say, ‘Would you LIKE a bag?’ Why put the emphasis on the verb? How are you supposed to reply? ‘No. I’d LOVE a bag’? or perhaps, ‘No. I’d DISLIKE a bag?’
Today, an assistant, who’d clearly been tipped off on ways to annoy me, asked, ‘DID you WANT a bag?’ DID? Why past tense? This upset me greatly and so I said, ‘No. I didn’t. But I do now please.’ She gave me a funny look, and a bag too, presumably to prevent a conversation.
And then she asked, ‘DID you WANT help with packing?’
It’s St George’s Day today. St George is the patron saint of Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro and Ethiopia. And men in white vans, if today’s flags around Hertford are anything to go by.
I’d quite like my own patron saint, but there are too many to choose from nowadays and they all multi-task. Amand, for instance, likes to protect boy scouts and barmen. I’ve met people like that on the internet. And Michael the Archangel covers radiologists, paramedics, postmen, stevedores and people who work in supermarkets.
St Francis is a definite candidate for me, as he liked animals and also preached to birds, possibly Peacocks. And St Gertrude of Nivelles is the saint of cats and gardening, so she’s definitely on the list.
I’m also tempted by Gabriel – patron saint of broadcasters and journalists. I guess he did have quite a scoop with the Jesus story.
Bona of Pisa looks after holiday reps (I used to be one) and flight attendants. I could insure my teaching activities with Cassian of Imola or St Thomas Aquinas. Genesius or perhaps Pelagia the Penitent (actors, performers, fools) could protect me when I’m on the air. Isidore could be helpful to Peacockshock, being the patron saint of the internet. And St Homobonus is the patron saint of business people, so I guess I should invoke him when I’m running my company. Perhaps I should offer a homobonus to gay clients. St Bona could help out with that.
But I’m also toying with Christina the Astonishing who can be be invoked against insanity and mental disorders. Meanwhile, Wilgefortis protects against tribulations. Walter of Pontoise fends off stress. William Firmatus – the Paracetemol of the saint world – stops headaches. And St Monica is the patron saint of alcoholics. Must add her to the shopping basket.
The problem is that I’m also tempted by Venerius the Hermit, who looks after freelance people and lighthouse keepers.
Then there’s Saint Rita. Rita of Cascia is the patron saint of lost causes, which I have been known to pursue. St Jude also handles lost causes, but I prefer the idea of Saint Rita. I imagine she hangs out with St Doris (knitting) and St Mabel (stairlifts). I made the last two up.
I also enjoy nothing more than fretting about my health, so it would be foolish to ignore St Polycarp (dysentery) and St Fiacre who wards off haemorrhoids. It might also be a good idea to include St Hubert of Liege who’d protect me against being bitten by a mad dog, which is never a good thing.
St Gertrude is currently the favourite, but I’m still open to suggestions.
I spent Sunday afternoon at the wondrous Paradise Wildlife Park near Hertford.