Tuesday, 2 August 2011

It's 'Lifestyle' Jim, but not as we know it

In yesterday's post about the flowering artichoke, you may have noticed this face grinning out from under the foliage, but been too polite/scared to ask what it is all about.

Where I work, out in the sticks, I rely on the kindness of strangers for the odd warming cup of tea, but they are not so kind as to provide me with a mug to put it in, so I get my own - usually from charity shops for as little money as possible.

Over the years, it has become something of a tradition with me to choose the most odd, confusing or simply disgusting mug (not shown in this picture), so that it is not 'inadvertently' used (stolen) by someone else, and this is an early example.

It is one of those office mugs that has been given away by a company for advertising purposes, and depicts a politically correct mix of the sort of cross-section of society that the company's advertising gurus decided would cover just about everyone who is likely to buy their product. Around the other side of it, there is a shaven-headed but ginger-haired oaf, and next to him there is a slightly Asian-looking woman who is - for some reason - weeping with joy. You get the picture. This mug is so awful that even I cannot bear to use it, and now use one which has a cartoon of two naked and over-weight men sprawled over giant, black and white footballs with thermometers in their mouths, and a doctor in a white coat between them, listening to their arses using a double ended stethoscope. Yes, every word I say is the truth and I will try to convince you with a picture of it - if I remember.

The reason why I have had to buy so many mugs for one mouth is because of a little game we used to play every lunch time, until the arrival of two Collie puppies made it impossible for fear of letting them knock their own teeth out. We called it: Cross-Country Boules.

It is (was) played using an ordinary French boules set, and whoever started the game picked up the little wooden target ball and threw it as far as they could into the unkempt wilderness that surrounds our workshops, in whatever direction took their fancy. The rest of us would throw our large metal ones as close to it as possible, and in this way we traversed the entire estate of about 3 acres in the space of about half an hour.

On the way, there would be opportunities for extravagant displays of skill/luck because of tricky shots like 'the pipe shot'. This would involve throwing your boules toward the neck of a three-foot long, 6 inch concrete pipe, and if you managed to get the thing to go down the pipe, out the other end and hit the wooden ball on the other side, then you were usually declared 'man of the match'. This happened more times than you might credit with truth.

The game invariably ended with us all chucking our last three boules (overarm) from a distance of about 50 yards toward the table where all our mugs and the teapot had been left, and the person who had a direct hit and caused the most damage was declared the outright winner.

This spectacular and noisy finale to the game was the reason why we had to keep replacing mugs and teapots, and although we no longer play it, I cannot stop myself from buying outlandishly bad-taste mugs every time I see them.

You don't have to be mad to work here, but - like they say - it helps.


  1. Ah another mug buyer, unfortunately I have to keep resupplying the ones 'half inched' from the works canteen when I leave them in there whence called to the for ever knackered production lines - just love them agency workers....

  2. This sounds like a Stephenson variation of Quoits - still played with great seriousness up here in the Yorkshire Dales.

  3. There's a similar game played here by the local youth only using bricks and shop windows...

    Actually I've just 'discovered' a mug in the office, tucked away behind some paperwork, and has been there for about a month I reckon.

    It also seems to have an artichoke sprouting from it.

  4. How come you always feed me with the opportunity for bad-taste jokes, Weaver? I just stopped myself from making one about your Yorkshire Dales game which ends early, and is called 'Quoits Interruptus'.