London hyperbole levels return to normal

Hyperbole, exaggeration and ridiculously self-important statements have finally receded in London following last week’s tube strikes.

Following 48 hours of having to endure a slightly shitter tube network than normal, incidences of phrases like ‘Blitz spirit’, ‘Dunkirk mentality’ and ‘travel hell’ have dropped down to normal London levels, roughly five times the national average. An actual judge used the words ‘Dunkirk spirit’ to describe a jury managing to make it to court and nobody batted an eyelid, as though reaching a central London location using a still acceptable level of public transport were in any way akin to floating into a warzone across miles of open sea in a bathtub. Similarly, literally all of the people who described an exchange of pleasantries on a bus as ‘Blitz spirit’ were subsequently at a loss to explain how this event was in any way comparable to having high explosive dropped on your house for several years.

The level of blatant egocentrism sweeping the Big Smoke threatened to exceed tolerable levels and leave Londoners weeping uncontrollably into their soy lattes, bleating about enduring terrible hardship. Examples of these travails include waiting 10 minutes for a tube, unplanned use of own legs and talking to other Londoners in a semi-civil manner.

However did we survive?

However did we survive?

Indeed, the infectious wave of camaraderie threatened to engulf the entire capital – reports suggest an outbreak of singing on one bus and strangers helping a fainting woman on another. Many Londoners found themselves unable to intentionally elbow strangers or block people from getting off trains despite a strong urge to do so. They found themselves speaking in tongues, uttering alien phrases like ‘no, you first’. Many have subsequently described the experience as ‘hellish’.

Thankfully, the episode has passed and a healthy level of fear and hatred of one’s fellow human has been re-instilled across the capital.

The rest of the UK, predictably, have failed to see what the problem is with waiting 10 minutes for a bus or train and have quietly pointed out that while it must be quite tough to have to walk to work, it’s probably almost as tough to have your house flooded, have your transport network washed away and your entire county re-classified as a large lake. They have also suggested that Londoners who still think they’ve got any kind of issues at all might like to swap lives for a week, or kindly shut up.

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New Year celebrations ‘somewhat premature’

As 2014 rumbles into its third consecutive day of being unfathomably awful, the wild celebrations and raised hopes of the nation are starting to look slightly misplaced.

Expectant Britons awoke bleary-eyed and possibly next to a stranger or farm animal sometime around tea-time on the 1st of January, certain that the financial worries, scandal and general dampness of 2013 were a thing of the past. Many were devastated to find that 2014 was possibly more shit than its predecessor; elation turned to embarrassment as roughly 99% of the population remembered sincerely believing that 2014 was going to be great, and telling this loudly and repeatedly to friends, loved ones and people they met on bridges just hours beforehand.

Probably caused by immigrants.

Probably caused by immigrants.

If the first three days of the new year are a good barometer of the rest of the year, and they almost definitely are, the UK is in for a metaphorical and in all likelihood literal shitstorm over the coming 362 days.

The first concern is the weather, which has cranked up a notch since midnight two days ago from ‘Biblical’ to ‘how does one construct an Ark?’ on the Beaufort scale. Dorset has gone from ‘quite waterlogged’ to ‘pretty much an extension of the sea’ on the Guardian’s how-flooded-is-my-county infographic, while in other parts of the UK the flood warnings have gone off the traditional Yellow-Amber-Red scale and into the little used ‘black’ warning, which is simply the word ‘REPENT’ written in blood on a wall.

In society, everyone is now even more skint than last year, ironically due to overspending on New Year celebrations. Hearteningly, BNP aubergine-in-chief Nick Griffin has been declared bankrupt in possibly the only positive news story of the year so far. He has also added some ironic cheer by announcing that he is writing a booklet on how to deal with debt – likely to be as useful as Accrington Stanley’s guide to winning the Champion’s League.

Back on the downside, every celebrity from the seventies is still a paedophile, your job is just as tedious as it was last year and if the Daily Mail is to be believed there are Romanians and Bulgarians stealing that job, as well as your car, home and spouse, as you read this.

In sport, the England cricket team continue to push the very limits of sporting ineptitude and poor decision-making, culminating in electing to send Michael Carberry out to bat with a potato masher, putting a blancmange in at number eight, and then bowling underarm to Brad Haddin.

Time will tell whether 2014 will carry out its threat to be a complete bastard of a year. If it is, there are already plans afoot to alter the traditional New Year’s celebrations across the country from a joyful, welcoming occasion to a sinister, threatening one. Fireworks and champagne will be replaced by hard looking bastards with clubs, muttering threats. Auld Lang Syne and ill-advised kisses will make way for battle speeches, manly fist bumps and three minutes to ‘get tooled up’. 2015 will of course be welcomed in a civil enough fashion, but it will know that the second it tries to dick us about we’re going to smash it’s fucking teeth in.

You do understand the concept of March, don’t you?

Spring has sprung.

Spring has sprung.

Ah yes, March.

The first wafts of Spring. Winter receding into a memory of warm fires and mulled wine. Sunshine. Lambs. Buds on the trees. Thoughts of Summer, the promise of heat.

These are some of the more accepted traits of March.

Unfortunately, Britain appears to have eschewed the classical approach to March with a fresh, edgy look based on howling winds and arse-clenchingly low temperatures.

A bit of my face nearly fell off on the walk to work today. I had to stumble the last 20 yards trying to keep my nose in its normal position after it lost circulation and decided to try and jump ship. I’m genuinely amazed that both of my ears are still here.

It’s also started snowing aggressively. Snow is meant to be a graceful, meandering weather event; if it made a noise it would sound like tinkling glass in slow motion. Pretty.

Today I had to fend off a coordinated attack from what felt like a hail of frozen wasps, angrily buzzing around my head. A bit like the snow had been out all night on Jagerbombs and Stella and was feeling a bit fighty.

This is absolutely unacceptable. I was in the Alps last week. It was 11 degrees. To be honest, I found that a little unusual but I most certainly did not expect to come back home only to crave the sweet, warm embrace of the Aiguille Grive.

I really crave the sweet, warm embrace of the Aiguille Grive.

Around this time of year, I (being, at heart, a man in his mid-sixties) like to start referring to things as ‘mad as a March hare’. Well I can tell you, the March hare is mad this year. He’s absolutely fucking livid. He wants to be out frolicking around, gambolling and doing other things that March hares generally do to indicate the scale of their madness. But he can’t. He’s trapped under four feet of ice in his burrow just outside Chester. The March hare is not just mad, he’s completely livid.

Weather, sort it out. This is ridiculous.

In other news, am I the only one who physically shudders every time I see either Chris Huhne or Vicky Pryce?

Wait for it…

The mood is tense in Britain tonight as it emerges that snow has fallen and the country is still functioning.

The UK traditionally has a fractious relationship with snow – the two are believed to have become intimate several centuries ago before snow disappeared for much of the early noughties without even leaving a note. Now the annual return of snow is marked by the island nation throwing an absolutely massive tantrum and refusing to move for 6-8 days.

"Oh look. Snow."

“Oh look. Snow.”

Last night however snow arrived in the dead of night, the rat, and has been gently caressing England’s green and pleasant lands for almost 24 hours. Whereas this would normally cause all trains services to instantly terminate just outside Reading and the M25 to turn into a mass game of ‘crash the car’, in 2013 Britain seems to have just, well, got on with it.

Speculation is rife that Britain has not actually noticed that snow is falling Рinstead believing that the large white flakes falling from the sky re part of a guerrilla marketing campaign by Daz Рand that as soon as it clocks on that the wintry cad is here again large swathes of Dorset will immediately explode.

Some optimists believe that this is a new dawn for the UK, and that finally we can all move on from turning into absolute loons the second the first flake lands. Perhaps now we’ll stop stacking it on pavements which aren’t even slippery, perhaps we’ll be able to drive in a straight line without screaming and swerving into the nearest lake. Perhaps the tubes will admit that they’re called the fucking Underground for a reason and don’t need to shut down straight away because snow does not, in fact, have the ground-penetrating powers it is often claimed to possess.

Realistically though, none of that will happen, we’ll all realise it’s actually snowing at some point, and all kinds of incompetent, hilarious hell will break loose.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I love this country.

PS: Exercise update. On a high protein diet, or direct quote, “Just eat more mate”. Still haven’t regained full arm function. Second session tomorrow. Help me.

It’s too hot

It is. Come on. It isn’t just me is it?

I think the worst part of it is that the wind is having itself a day off, which it certainly didn’t clear with any of us first, cheeky sod. A lovely bit of breeze would be just champion right now, but it’s off elsewhere. No doubt somewhere cool. Instead we’re just left with the wind’s creepy arch-nemesis, humidity. I can feel it’s sweaty hands all over me while it whispers threatening sweet nothings in my ears. In my head it resembles Chris Moyles. In a cape.

Correct. I am not.

It thundered a bit earlier. That was just cruel. It had all the hallmarks of one of those huge bastard summer storms that gets the world back on an even keel; I was ready to go and stand outside in my just pants getting soaked, grinning like an idiot in just his pants. Then it seemed to get bored and wander off, maybe the wind is having a party somewhere and the thunder was just passing through on its way, necking Lambrini and shouting.

As a nation we’re a bit obsessed with the weather, but very much in the same way we’re obsessed with Simon Cowell. We’ll religiously follow the weather and what it’s up to simply in order to be angered by it and shout about how shit it is, a bit like I’m doing now.

30 degrees, glorious sunshine, not a breath of wind? “Eugh, too hot, why can’t it at least bloody snow?”

-10 degrees, snow laying like my favourite type of pizza (deep pan, crisp and even. lol.)? “I can’t wait for summer.”

Perhaps it’s then unsurprising that various elements of our weather system are deserting us. There’s just no pleasing us, no matter what the weather tries to do we’re not satisfied. This must be how Piers Morgan feels.

It’s still too hot though. Bloody weather. Why can’t it snow?