Two days ago on the main BBC 1 News channel we were blessed with the appearance of St. David Beckham, who had attended the football World Cup in S.A. to advise our players on strategy, based on his unrivalled experience and his analytical skills. He explained with a perfectly straight (admittedly handsome ) face that England lost because the players did not play well enough.
And there was me thinking it had all been due to the snow or the wrong sort of leaves on the pitch.
I can't live in that sort of intellectual cauldron.
My favourite sport at present is Extreme Ironing. This is a sort of cross between Extreme Frisbee and Figure Skating, except you use an ironing-board instead of ice-skates. Marks are awarded for style, athleticism, difficulty of the executed programe etc. I believe it was invented in the Peak District when a young man on a glorious sunny afternoon was hoping to go rock-climbing on the Sheffield grit-stone edges with his mates. His girl-friend, however, thought he should spend the afternoon doing the ironing. Being a New Man, he decided to take the washing and the ironing-board with him, and did the odd climb between ironing the smalls. His mates then decided that they could all do a bit of ironing halfway up a rock-climb and thus a sport was born. It's now also been done while parachuting, skiing, deep-water diving, skating, hang-gliding or whatever.
International competitions are being held and though the English team did very well at first, other nations have now learnt how to iron 'in extremis' and we've slipped down the table. Some pundits believe our ironing-season is too long, and others put it all down to these foreigners coming to England to wash their dirty linen in public so our English ironers don't get the experience of top-level competition. Alan Hansen thinks its because the managers don't release their ironers to attend board-bonding sessions, Adrian Chiles thinks its these new Jabulani irons, and Beckham thinks our guys just aren't ironing well enough.
Although I am now an extreme-ironing enthusiast, and I am happy to watch other people ironing, my own ironing skills are relatively limited because I resisted being a New Man when I was a young man, and I only became a slightly New Man out of the goodness of my heart when I was already a fairly Old Man. Seeing my wife was exhausted by laying concrete slabs in the patio one day I offered to iron a couple of handkerchieves for her and that was my fatal mistake. She praised my ironing skills to the skies, told all her friends what a wonderful ironer I was, and now I'm stuck with my reputation. Crafty things, women.
I haven't tried any overly ambitious or intricate ironing manoeuvres yet, as you have such a long wait in Casualty departments these days, though I did once manage a pair of knickers while answering the telephone, but then I caught my foot in the flex. I was however greatly heartened to read in the newspaper yesterday about a 75 year old man who attempted a swallow-dive from a 40 foot cliff into the sea in Dorset. It turned into a belly-flop and he had to be pulled from the sea by his sons. "My face, chest, arms and legs took a battering" he said "and my bits hurt a bit." If only he'd jumped with his ironing board he'd have been in with an excellent chance in the veterans class.
I'm off to London today to count the grandchildren, so my next blog will be on Monday.