All posts by Mike Walsh

“Sucked Off By a Camel” …as they say in France

Camel Domino teeth

Hearing the latest from Yosamity Wayne and Kerry in France I can only pass it on.

If you’ve read “Ostrich Heaven” you’ll know Wayne has a tendancy to dress like Clint Eastwood, what with the leather chaps, ten gallon hat and spingly, spangly spurs.
And this is only to drive the tractor to pick up the paper.

But, seriously, that’s not true. He wears them when he’s on round up with the ostriches, Donkey and flouncy camel. I say the flouncy camel lightly, but its a huge creature. Not some big humped, easy going moulting fluff ball. Its massive. And if it decides it wandering over there, then tip your hat and clear the way because,

Its going over there….

Its a mite unpredictable with the size and presence to be and go where it wants to. But looks pleasant enough, actually like most livestock that people are inspired to pet then say

“Awww its soooo FLUFFY!
ARRRRRRRRRRRRRMyfingersmyfuckinfingeeeers!!!”

So, with the camel, huge as it is, with its roly poly plodding gait, its surprising how it just blends into the scenery and goes stealth bomber.
Like its been coated with a mental anti-radar paint.
Thats why Kerry and Indiana Wayne try keep the farm between them and it.

So you’ll be impressed to know they are adapting and integrating daily into they’re new lives, and, with all that’s thrown at them.

What I’m glad to report is Kerry has leapt forward in her relationship with the Ostriches. She’s now a fully fledged member of the flock

How? How has she done this?? – I hear you all cry, and Wayne most of all.

Indiana Wayne

See, as we’ve already seen its about the gently, gently aproach NOT, the strangle them firmly till in a headlock and kick ’em when they’re down.
(“Get down and STAY down!”)
Tripping over your spingly spangly spurs doesn’t help either.

I mean how can you creep up on an Ostrich going “Ker-ling! Ker-ling! Ker-ling!??
You CAN”T. (Wayne)

They’re all on the opposite side of the field before you’ve taken your second step from your 1934 tractor.
And buying that bullwhip on amazon isn’t going to do any good either.
(You’ll look FANTASTIC though xx)

To be fair how Kerry discovered how to approach the ostrich’s without them all galloping off in a cloud of dust was by accident. I know this because she’s only just worked it out herself and begged me not to tell Wayne. Unfair I think, but who am I to destroy a new growing fad in Cognac?
(If you ever visit and go into town for a nice coffee and the waiter bullwhips it from his tray onto you table – you can seriously look wayne in the eye, shake him firmly by the hand and thank him for inspiring the experience.)

So, what has Kerry discovered? Its her hat!
She wears one of those leather hats with the furry rim and drop down furry flaps. And, when you look at her – out of the corner of your eye – from 80 yards or so, you can actually see what the Ostriches are seeing!

They seem to think she’s a miniature Ostrich! So when she comes into the field they surround her thinking she’s a stunted short arse Ostrich who need help! Its like they do a Big Bird wagon circle and pen her in, so she’s at the center of a flock of 9 foot birds.
I mean, take your pick – who do you want to get a grip of first??
Which is why Kerry is now the equivalent of an 1800’s chimney sweep’s apprentice. You know, the person your going to send up the chimney. That really tight space, with a brown paper bag (What for? we’ll tell you if you need it son. Upsadaisy.) and say

“You’ll be fiiiiine. Its a doddle. There nothing to it.”

So its a case of –

“kez off you go into that field full of 40 something 9 foot turkeys and just, you know, just bring them over here.”

Ending with

“You’ll be fiiiiiine. Can you run fast by the way? Why? Oh just to get them here quicker..avec.”

So it was with some pride that when Kerry and Wayne had visitors over Christmas, namely my Mum, Holly and Wayne Emmo, they took them down to the farm to demonstrate they’re amazing progress with the animals.

“Wait till you see the RAPORE we have with the animals! Its fantastic! Gently, gently – works wonders!!” (with Indiana Wayne cracking his whip and prowling up and down the fence – KerlingKerlingKerlingKerling – just waiting, for his chance to shine.)

And Kez, at the fence just demonstrating how – hat on – the birds come galloping to see her, -hat off – and away they drift.

Tadaaaa!

Wow.

Hat on – here they are! Swooping across the pasture to see shorty bird!
Hat off – Wtf! – where’s shorty gone? Come on girls back to the other side of the field..

Wowwwww.

As You can imagine she was like an Ornithologist equivalent of the karate kid mentor –
A real life Mrs. Miyagi. (wax on, wax off. Wow).

My Mum and Holly and Wayne Emmo as you can imagine were amazed.

Then in dropped Stealth Camel.

As Kez was taking her bow, an invisible 2 ton camel leaned over the fence and took her entire head in its mouth.

Obviously the 3 visitors are applauding madly thinking

“Jesus, this is AMAZING!”

Something you would pay big bucks to see in Vegas, happening in front of them!

And here, right HERE Was Kerry showing her RAPORE with another of Gods creatures!

And oh! Look! Here come all the Ostrich’s thinking kerrys got and even BIGGER hat on!

And Oh! Oh! They’re trying to form a Wagon Circle around Kerry and the camel – who at this point is actually sucking off kerrys head.

(sucked off by a camel – Not something that happens everyday.)

And NO! LOOOOOK! Indiana Wayne has taught the camel to take A BLOODYGOODTHRASHING with his bullwhip!

And finally, it let her go.

Awwwwwwwwwww.

Obviously my mum finally clocked that it wasn’t a show and went nuclear mother hen. And then after mopping all the camel saliva off Kerry, was frantically trying to talk her into a Tetanus.

But Kerrys made of tough stuff.

A few Domino sized teeth gnawing on you’re head are nothing!

And I mean NOTHING to an Ostrich whisperer.

Ostrich heaven

Ostrich Heaven

My sister and her husband recently moved over to France down near Cognac. Famous for its, well, Cognac. I’m yet to visit and intend to as soon as circumstances allow to see just what a fantastic job they’ve done renovating an old farm house into a livable home.
Its been some 6 years of hard work, travelling backwards and forwards trying to do mass amounts of work in short bursting spells. Until finally they decided to give it a go permanently and get the house completed and settle over there.
I know its been a massive decision to finally attempt this opportunity, with reservations and stress over leaving their everyday routine lives over here and re-establishing a life in another country. Communicating will always be an issue until they get to grips with the language, but with plenty of LOUD conversations with locals, (shouting always makes it clearer).
I know for a fact this does work as my grandfather demonstrated to me as a boy.

We had a French exchange student staying and my Grandfather called during her visit. What followed was a perfect demonstration in communication.
“CHURCH OF ENGLAND? (she was French mind) OR CATHOLIC??” This was important to my grandfather for some reason and was the first thing he actually asked her.
She in the meantime was sat looking bewildered shrugging her shoulders palms up.
It just got louder.
The thing was I actually started trying to help.
“HE WANTS TO KNOW IF YOUR CHURCH OF ENGL…(wtf?)”
I caught myself as I was shouting it louder than he was and sent him out.
But, with plenty of avecs and toute sweets we got by.

Now Wayne worked in the building trade like myself, which with the best will in the world is just an apprenticeship in Tourettes. Absolutely fluent in Fuckanese. English is probably a second language. So I can understand how hard it must be to go somewhere where you have to get past your pigeon French and begin living an established life and be able to communicate. Something they’re managing well, and gradually learning the language.

So I have no doubt that as this coming year passes their French will improve to the point of all the locals learning better English. Just to save time.

But seriously I know its been an upheaval and I know there will be some things that will be missed. But on the whole I think its a good thing and a great opportunity to lead a more relaxed self sufficient life.
As the house has come along, and I mean it really has come along magnificently, I think their slowly but surely creating a space for them selves in the local community. The great thing on the whole, is that the local community are making a space for them. You see they aren’t just there to visit, or holiday. They’re there to live and I think that this is respected due to the fact that they’ve taken on board a derelict farm house and re-established back into the working village life.

Kerry come’s back to the UK and stays at my home for a week once a month. She work hands on in her old job then spends part of her time back at home in France doing the same job via the PC.
During the rest of the time over in France, Kerry and Wanye have become part of the local working environment and have taken skills over there that only add to local life.
Wayne can work on the construction side of life or, repair and fix vehicles. Always on the go, busy not happy stood still and always something to do. Just always ready to work hard and overcome a problem and make something work. Plenty of strings to his bow.
Kez has always been very get-up-and-go, very hands-on, multi talented and loves creating. She used to hand make broaches and head-dresses for functions and wedding. Just stuff out of nothing . Bits of cotton, gauze, beads, you name it. She just enjoys being busy and doing. Creating. I think they compliment each other so much, both prepared to work so hard for the other.

Kerry and Wayne have taken to working part time on the local Ostrich farm which has been a source of entertainment. The birds are powerful, extremely large and very nervous. Part of the work involves treating the birds, checking them out, tagging, just plain dealing with them.

There’s two ways of getting to grips with them and these are

A. Kerrys way.
and
B. Waynes way.

Normally, to get hold of one, they are herded together until someone can actually get “hands on”.
Once they’re close enough you have to get a grip on their neck to restrain them, drop a blanket on their noggin and someone else will lean on their backs to help control and guide them until whatever needed to be done is.
It can be a wrestling match.
Wanyes route to success is unintentional throttling until the bird blacks out. With hands a gorilla would be proud of I suppose controlling how hard you grip the birds neck is hard to judge.
And the first time old “banana fingers” got to grips with one, the poor bastard just collapsed and blacked out till someone explained he was choking it. And air is a requirement.

Kerry’s way, ah. Finesse. Gently, gently gain the birds confidence. Stroke the neck on a regular basis. Whenever your passing in fact . This way it gets to the point, the birds approach you.
Then its just a simple thing of getting (a gentle) hold until it becomes a secure grip, bag on the noggin, guide where you want, Do what needs doing, release….etc, etc, ect – Francois’ your uncle.

Wayne will be stood watching in awe at this point with his lasso drooping and Stetson tipped back…Its not all Berets and Garlic cloves over there.

But seriously, he doesn’t wear a Stetson.

Unless its sunny and he’s picking the vines.. but that’s for later.

Castelli – The lycra of Champions……3/1/14

Having bought a new bike recently I’ve been in a rush to get up to speed gear wise to get the most enjoyment out of riding it. Luckily, having left a review against my experience in buying the bike, (which I have to say was top banana), I won a £250 voucher which went a ways towards buying a decent start up kit.

In the mean time it gave me the opportunity to sell of some things to raise more money to buy other odds and ends.
The outcome at the moment is that I look like a very, very impressive lycra clad pimp without having to resort to wearing platform shoes with goldfish swimming round the soles. Or lots of gold chains. (Too heavy you see? Who can ride a sleek, leaps-dolphin-like on the road, bike, wearing 12lb of gold? Not even Mr. T.)

Anyhow, the sales are here! And have I been scanning them for deals? You bet I have. After initially trying to buy gear that was radically reduced, then returning it and trying something else radically reduced and finding that really, Your balls shouldn’t be squeezed into those areas that turn you into a Falsetto.
So I had seen the Castelli brand of cycle gear and balked at the price, but after trying on my 7th pair of cycling shorts and thinking,
“Omg. I can’t feel my toes anymore.”
I decided I’ll at least try on their shorts. Because it wasn’t like I was actually going to pay that sort of money. Ohnohahaha
But after trying them on and finding it was like putting on a glove, and a lovely glove at that. Not one of those items of clothes you try in various shops thinking “Why (God) does this make me look my actual size..? (whale) Surely, surely one of these places is going to have something that fits me and makes me look like a normal (catwalk model) person.” But Finding no such shop exists.

But this brand just felt fabulous. No other word. Looks fantastic, fits great (as long as you jump a couple of sizes – damn Italians) the actual larger sizes don’t look big, they just fit.

My wife has taken to looking at me in a kindly, paternal, patient kind of way. Saying things like “Yes, that looks fantastic!” (although I have caught her on a couple of occasions turn away and rolling her eyes in a WTF moment)

But what a wonderful woman I’m blessed with marrying. Of course we have our moments, but on the whole its a great marriage. She makes me laugh, ( I’m the funny one though), and recently its turned into a swearing competition. And for a Vicars daughter and me working on building sites, I have to say – Damn! I’m impressed!
So when I need someone to convince me to buy something she’s the one I’ll talk to. The one who’ll convince me to go for it. Then tell me I look good in it.

But see, She knows how to buff my ego, puff my chest out and raise my chin.
Just so she can Stand back and watch me strut out of the house ready ride, with the neighbours looking on thinking, “There’s that damn fat pimp again.”

Ed Sheeran in Manchester!

Went into Manchester to do a clothing return this morning with Holly, so it was an early visit and breakfast in Katsouris on corner of Deansgate/John Dalton Street.

But, as we were walking up who did we see but Ed Sheeran (omg) walking in the opposite direction!!

Well, I say Ed Sheeran, but it was actually Ed’s Foot and a half taller and Two and a half stone heavier doppleganger. He did have the ginge thing going on, (bless him) and a remarkable resemblance to Ed. And if someone with me would have taken a picture with her Iphone, i’d have the proof of the matter. I was all for asking him for a photo with a

“Blimey! Is it really you Ed? No?? Amazing! You should have a job as Ed’s body double! Learn to lip sinc mate you’ll make a bomb!!”

Anyhow, that came to nothing as someone refused to let me approach him. (It would have been mint).

So after my Kitten breakfast, we went onto a well known low lit shop to do an exchange. How people actually make a decision on what they want to buy in there I’ll never know. Can’t see a damn thing and if you want to colour coordinate – forget about it. You’ll be wandering in and out of the place just to see exactly what colour the piece is your trying to buy. If you  buy it in there blind as you are, your only going to get home, take it out of its impressive bag and go ” Oh Fuck.”

And another thing that was brought to my attention. A friend of Emily’s works in one of the shops stores and he enlightened her on how it works.

Once in the shop any staff member  has to approach you or when you approach them  say “Hi! How are you guys?!” or “Hi guys! How’s your day?”… with (if possible) an American accent(??).

What’s all that about??

Also, each member of staff carries a small bottle of in-house scent and as they walk past customers, give a little squirt so you’ll be walking around going either

A. Mmmmmmm it sure smell nice in here.

or

B. Jesus Christ. It smells like a Brothel in here.

Either way next time your in just take a step back and watch.

Finally, This shop is nothing but determined to promote its brand. The better looking staff are front row, on display to customers and have to fit particular requirements. Mainly Thin. As fuck. They’d make a speedo thong look baggy.  The lesser blessed staff are kept in the rear, lower lit areas. With some of the brighter ( get home and go “Oh Fuck”) clothes. So theres probably some rivalry between staff members. You can imagine front shop staff in the canteen with the back shop staff going, ” You can only DREAM about looking this good. Fatty.” It would be like an OCD bulimics nightmare.

So, if he was actually looking for a job there, poor old “Ed Sheeran” on John Dalton street would be fucked. Too tall. Too fat. And wayyyyyyyyy to ginger. (Bless).

 

Optimistic New Years day bike ride…1/1/14

After spending part of 2013 getting back into shape I was keen to stay on top of the road cycling. So today I was out bright and early with Dave Burrows starting from Shaw up in Oldam.

Now I’ve worked hard to shed weight this last year and done quite well. Dave on the other hand has the body mass of a  Masai  warrior, but leaner. he could run a 10 miler no problem at a great pace. Faster if the police were after him no doubt. In fact he’d be the perfect bag snatcher because you’d never catch the fucker. First (and last thing) you would know about it, would be the sudden piroette  you would be doing as your bag went another way and the sound of receding (fast) footsteps.

I on the other hand I am built sturdy. Like a pit pony. But thinner like one that’s been starved for a while.

Anyhow..

We took off and headed up to Hollingworth Lake  then took a turn through Rochdale up towards Edenfield. It was the first of a series of climbs from the back of Spotlands (rochdales ground) running up to Old Bettes – quite a nice pub lunch venue. The first two climbs went fine and we hit the third in  reasonable high spirits with Dave saying

“Last one. It  just climbs a bit more round the corner.”

Until, that is, we hit the corner and looked at a good mile or so straight climb. I have to say your heart drops a bit and you’re thinking

“O Fuckaduck.”

So it was a case of looking at each other (me thinking not for the first time, “You lying bastard“), (Dave probably thinking “Hahahaha.”) And getting head down and on with it. Hard work but worth it to be honest because – when you can finally breathe again – the view is fantastic..

Great view at the summit looking out across the vista beyond the reservoir, from Oldam, Rochadale, across Manchester, taking in Ramsbottom, Peel tower and all the HUGE windmills on our right as we descend to Ramsbottom.

Would be even better on a clear blue skied, sunny, windless day. On this day though the wind was just starting to rise and the rain begin to drop.

we dropped down into Ramsbottom side and as we began a guy was climbing in the opposite direction reeeeeally working hard. And I shouted over to him “Nearly there mate!” thinking he’s got a great descent  going back the way we had come from. But I also thought “he’s making hard work of that,”  because tbh it was’nt a steep climb coming up towards us just nice and steady.

Until, that is, some 10 minutes later when we finaly hit the bottom and I just thought
“|Thank Christ we weren’t climbing that bugger.”
Because it was ALL down hill, and this poor bastard passing us must have spent about half an hour trying to ride up it.
No wonder the poor fucker just grunted coming the other way. I think he would have appreciated a small oxygen tank. And an engine.

From there on in the weather just turned and it rained and blew and rained and sprayed and – you get the picture. But, By this point theres no easy route back to the start so it was onwards and upwards. Straight in and out of Bury, Up into and out of Heywood drop down into the back of middleton. A nice snick through  brought us out near the Rose of Lancaster then off up to Oldam past the ground and a final wind down ride to Daves. Where, you find out exactly how wet, cold and numb everything is. Toes so so, hands fabulous with the new Castelli Gloves on, upper body top dollar feeling great. And, Nuts non existent. I actually think they recede  to my armpits on rides like this. But that’s a guess because I’ve yet to find exactly where they go. As long as they come back that’s all I’m bothered about.

But, a great ride and always good company. Someone you can have a good conversation with is essential and Dave is certainly that. When I can hear him over the wind that is. Otherwise I just shout “Yeah. That’s right/wrong!” depending on what I guess he’s said…

Hello 2014!!!

Well, as I sat at home on New years eve playing cards and having a quiet couple of drinks, My daughters friend Chloe began talking about her Blog. Sounded an interesting outlet and convinced me to try writing a blog. Just a general diary or events or things that touched me or made me laugh at one point or another.
So… here’s to 2014…