Tim Rushby-Smith: July 2008 Archives

We can rebuild him...

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For anyone who didn't see it, there was a fascinating article in Sunday's Observer about developing technologies of a 'bionic' nature...

Looks like my dream of getting into a pair of 'The Wrong Trousers' might not be so far away after all.

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I finally collected my new tennis wheelchair on Friday, and took it for a spin on Sunday. There's no doubt that it has improved my mobility massively. Once I got over the rustiness caused by not playing for two weeks. I'm now working really hard on finding another excuse to fall back on, but it's proving difficult so far. Any ideas gratefully received.

Legwork

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At first I saw this and felt sad. I can't dance anymore. And I could dance a hell of a lot better than Matt Harding. But once I started to watch, I realised that he is doing exactly what I would love to do. And probably would do constantly were my legs to suddenly start working again (unlikely). He should also be listed in the dictionary under the word exuberance.

It's also nice to see t'internet still has the potential to create an innocent viral phenomenom (altogether, now "Dup der, pherderba!").



Good on yer, Matt. Hate to think what your carbon footprint must look like, though...

Le Camping

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C'est Finis! And there ends my French. Yes, we are back from our camping adventure, having covered over 1600 miles, camped in four different campsites, eaten 35 baguettes, fourteen kilos of cheese, drunk eight gallons of wine, and never once complained about the heat.

We have left the beautiful, rugged and sun soaked scenery of Provence behind us and returned to the 'atmospheric', grubby and rain-soaked scenery of Hackney. Of course we managed to return relatively empty handed because of the charming French refusal to adopt anything other than pedantic opening hours. Even the hypermarches of Calais were closed when as we headed for the Europipe on Sunday night.

But what a holiday we had... As my resignation to being unable to speak the language grows, so I become ever more comfortable with the Gallic shrug, and somehow we muddle cheerfully through.

The thing that I find most impressive is the French sense of terroir and regional identity. As you drive across France, you pass through region after region, each with it's own speciality food. Even motorway service stations have 'Degustation' stalls erected out front selling local peaches or melons or asparagus or whatever. I struggle to imagine a stall outside 'Welcome Break' at Watford Gap selling watercress.

Camping was, well, camping. The usual challenges were augmented by some new ones provided by wheelchair use and toddler wrangling. The tent is big enough to wheel straight into, so the main issue was making sure that we were close enough to the toilet block but not so close that we felt like we were sleeping IN the toilet block.

The nipper offered an altogether more complex issue to solve. In order to make camping in campsites work as adults, we all buy in to the same lie. We pretend that a wafer thin wall of nylon fabric is actually the same as bricks and mortar. We are not actually sleeping twenty feet away from a bunch of complete strangers who insist on continuing inane conversations or strumming Kum By Ah on an out of tune guitar into the wee hours.

Unfortunately, toddlers do not subscribe to this mass delusion, and so having been put to bed in the tent, R could hear her parents whispering behind a piece of fabric not a meter a way, and crept out of the tent to join in the fun. The end result was that we all ended up going to bed at the same time.

I will spare you my observations and generalisations about driving in France, except to say that there must be more Dutch folk travelling Europe in caravans than there are Dutch folk living in Hollland. And the Belgians? Adam, I now understand your comments about driving in Brussels...

So, as the memories and the tan fades, I am already back in the yoke with my latest column on OUCH. Hopefully it will provoke a bit of thought. On professional matters, a good friend of ours spotted my book in a bookshop in Heathrow airport. Next to a biography of Tupac, naturally.

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