Thursday, 4 November 2010



Nice used to be called Nike, did you know?  It's Greek, and it means 'victory'.  (Hands up all those who thought it meant 'sweaty footwear'?  Hmm, you just can't get the quality of blog reader these days).

Anyway, it's probably just me, but the only reason I'd ever consider jogging is to get away from people jogging.   I mean, if we were really designed to squeeze ourselves into the most appallingly tight neon lycra, and jump up and down in ugly shoes constructed to stop the terrible damage that comes from jumping up and down in the most appallingly tight neon lycra, what on earth would be the point of of Paris Hilton???

Wander along Nice Promenade any day of the week and you'll have to keep your wits about you to avoid being run over by men and women with pained faces, bouncing slowly along from the Chateau to the airport, and then back again, looking so miserable you'd think they not only lived next door to Monkey Woman and her gormless boyfriend, but whose algorithm had just come up and bitten them on the backside.  (If it's so good for you, why do exponents of such a pointless activity - unless they actually want to puree their internal organs - look like they're extremely close to death?)

However, jogging isn't the end of it by any means on the Riviera.  For the Iron Man extravaganza came to Nice this summer.   On hearing 2,500 competitors were registering in person one Saturday, I popped down to the seafront with a pile of linen that I just couldn't get the creases out of. I like to do my bit for sport when I can.

After an hour or so, though, it became apparent that this was no ordinary ironing contest – the bonkers participants were expected to swim for 3.8 kilometres, before going on a 180 km bike ride, finishing off with a 42 km marathon run.  [NOTE:  Don't try this at home! It's very dangerous to swim and iron at the same time - leave it to the professionals.]

As you might have ascertained by now, I'm not someone who dedicates her life to outdoor pursuits.  Not physically built for it, to be honest. I once met a man who, upon looking me up and down lasciviously, let out a long breath and said: “Well, you're not a jogger, are you?” I've had my knockers in my time, but still...  (Got the impression he might have enjoyed engaging in a little horizontal jogging with me, but could be wrong.  And naturally, yes, he was married. Duh.)  

Anyway, having arranged to meet some friends to cheer on a participant we knew in the event, I had an hour to kill, having given up endeavouring to catch hold of a passing Iron Man in his tight-fitting all-in-one outfit.  (My goodness, those suits are slippery after a 4 km swim!)  My friend, Tigger, thought it would be a good idea at that point: 

'It should be easy for you, NiceEtoile' she said,  'they'll be knackered.'  

Now THAT'S what I call a supportive friend.

And so, with time, though not a man, on my hands, I ambled along to the Cours Saleya, noticing one bar had a large flat screen TV showing the England versus Germany match.   (For joy of joys, the World Cup was taking place).  There was a nice, comfy seat in the shade obviously just waiting for me, so I sat down and ordered a beer. The waiter having duly left my table, the half time whistle went and I spent 15 minutes watching dreadful commercials. That's the kind of sporting prowess I possess, dear Reader.

Whilst we're talking about what laughingly passes for 'English football', I actually thought the second half of the game was quite entertaining. The two goals were scored almost in the same way: the Germans had possession of the ball, and 10 of the England team had gone off to beat up a journalist or sleep with some prostitutes, leaving the one remaining English guy on the pitch to chase after the German with the ball and ask politely if he wouldn't consider, just this once, not kicking it into that funny net thingy.   But, as usual, the German had got there first. 

(With many apologies for that racial stereotype. However, be comforted that Germany has a football team, whilst the English have a collection of thuggish womanisers for whom dribbling has an entirely different connotation on a Friday night, lying on the pavement outside China White's). But it was a very close thing. 4 – 1. Could have been anybody's, Brian.

(And I thought I did the jokes).

I've said I'm not particularly sporty, but I did used to meet up with some girlfriends once a week to play tennis on an outdoor court. That was fun. And in inclement weather we did exactly what Roger Federer does when training – we went off for a lovely fry-up and a gossip. (And a few back-handed compliments).

Well, back to the old Iron Man thing (can somebody enlighten me as to why they have to dress like sperms before going for a dip in the Med?)  Our friend completed the competition well inside his personal best of 3 weeks and 4 days, and is very pleased with his plastic medally thing on a piece of string, which, I have to admit, does blend in quite well with his most appallingly tight neon lycra.

OK, so what did I learn from all this?

I learnt that beer costs 3 euros 90 for a small glass on the Cours Saleya on World Cup match days.  I learnt that you don't actually have to run back and forth to the airport when the weather is scorching, the Number 98 bus is normally extremely reliable (and a snip, at the price of a small glass of beer on the Cours Saleya on World Cup match days). And I learnt that I'll have to iron my own bloody pile of linen after all.

Well, at least I'll develop muscles in my right arm.  AND get the housework done at the same time. Which is more than can be said for the contestants of the Iron Man competition, whose right arms certainly appear to be developing muscles for some reason or other, but obviously not thanks to any constructive effort around the house...


(What???  It's my blog, the opinions expressed herein are indeed the opinions of The Management.  Unless they upset a lot of people bigger than me, when I will then state that Tigger made me write it.)

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Please be nice, but not funnier than me. Thanks.