Thursday, 8 January 2015

Blue Peter owe me a badge


It's bloody miserable here right now and the January blues have finally hit along with wet storms which interrupt the supposedly infallible digital network, meaning broken radio and broken internet. When the radio does come back on, the January news doesn't help the feeling of deep depression either.

I walked into the pub last night, took one look at the clientele which consisted of five shabby old alcoholics who are always there no matter what is happening outside, and - not wanting to bring the numbers up to six - turned round and walked out again.

A lot of my slightly younger friends are going on the 'dry January' faddish abstinence from alcohol charade, but since my intake has not altered in the slightest between November and this month, I am not going to go along with the silly, NHS instigated stunt. I am not a binge-drinker, I have given up drugs and I eat on a regular basis.

The year before last, this 'on the wagon', Facebook-cajoled peer-group also grew moustaches over November - well the men did anyway - but I don't know how this helped charities any more than having buckets of cold water poured over themselves did the following Summer. I don't know one of them who did that who contributed to charity anyway, so what was the point?

I went straight home last night with the intention of going straight to bed after eating, but Green-Eyes turned up. She entertained us with horror stories about the NHS, and how she has spent many long evenings watching the comings and goings of her A and E department - "SEVEN SECURITY TO H AND E IMMEDIATELY PLEASE" - followed by a group of guards running across the bank of screens, jumping over sleeping drunks and junkies to intercept a punch-drunk trouble-maker attacking a female nurse.

My friend who is the chef at the Dorothy House Foundation hospice here, tells me that they have had a busy Christmas, and that all the beds are currently occupied by various people waiting to die. I'll have to pick my moment carefully if I want to be administered the right dosage of opiates on my way out.

It is a strange thing, but when the machinery begins to start up again after the Christmas break, it begins very slowly and creakily, as if it has been mothballed for about three months, not two weeks, and the only people who seem to have a spring in their step are homicidal terrorists.

This year more than ever, I understand all the old people who used to book themselves into a hotel on the Riviera for the whole of the Winter, but - as H.I. keeps reminding me - you need quite a lot of money for that.

In Northern Canada, they have festivals during the sub-zero snowy months to stop themselves going mad and killing each other, and I have participated in a few of those. I have brought a little brightness into the lives of those who dare not step out of their heated rooms for any other reason than to watch a bunch of international snow-sculptors freezing their nuts off to keep them entertained.

I got back one year, and was in the pub around the end of January, when a small girl came up to me with an inquisitive look on her face.

"Weren't you the man who was on Blue Peter last week?" she asked as I looked down at her from the bar stool.

"No, not me," I told her, and tried to get back to the serious business of drinking.

"I'm sure it was you," she insisted, "You were carving a big block of snow in Canada, weren't you?"

We were constantly surrounded by camera crews, so they must have snuck up on me unnoticed.

I might write in and claim my badge.


19 comments:

  1. An old school friend of mine was on Blue Peter simply because he kept a Black Panther in his Chelsea flat; he has the famous badge. You'd have to be on the same 'roll of honour' as idiots like him if they sent you one too!

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    1. So you see no honour in wearing the badge, I take it?

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    2. None whatsoever. Even Jimmy Saville had one.

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  2. A Blue Peter badge for you working on your ice sculpture in Canada? Surely, Tom, it must be on its way to you now?

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    1. Wel it's about 20 years late if it is.

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  3. You make my life seem very dull Stephenson.

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    1. Mine too Rachel. Perhaps it's just your ability to make the mundane interesting?

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    2. Sometimes I read myself and what I relate to you, and it even seems to me that my life has been more interesting that it appears to me in hindsight. I don't know what is going on, but I seldom lie in these posts.

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    3. I know I did that thing in Canada, because that's me in the photo.

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  4. My best friend of 41 years is chucking winter and moving to Georgia. I ascertained she would pick me up at the airport, so I gave her my blessing. It is four degrees below zero this morning, school is cancelled.
    I thought Blue Peter badges were for children, but BBC won't let me on their web site to find out.

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    1. They're not for American children, either.

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  5. My brother received a Blue Peter badge in 1966. The TV programme featured a motorised Lego train not yet available. My brother wrote in saying he had one which our aunt in Switzerland gave him for Christmas. I mention this because of the Blue Peter badge theme. Other interesting things have also happened in my lifetime.

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    1. I cannot think of anything more interesting than what happened to your brother in 1966, but if you think you can beat that, then please do.

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  6. Do that - it might cheer you up a bit!!

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    1. The sun came out as soon as I finished writing the above, Weave.

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  7. I love that photograph of you Tom ….. you come across all male and testosterone !!!! ….. I even like your boots !!!! XXXX

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    1. It was so cold that my willy had shrunk to the size of a large peanut - in its shell.

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    2. Also, I think I look very ISIS, ahead of my time, don't you?

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