Tuesday, 19 April 2011


It was the London Marathon on Sunday.  I know this because I was watching the news, where they interviewed assorted pandas and carrots - along with Fred Flintstone - before the race started. (Superman apparently completed the course in 2 hours 42 minutes - what kind of superhero is that, FFS???  No wonder the world's in such a bloody mess).

They then spoke to some kind of an expert, who explained that when you're running in the usual wanker  jogging kit, your blood temperature is a normal-ish temperature for jogging blood, whatever that may be (what am I now? A doctor???)  However, in a chicken suit your blood reaches the upper limits of what is considered safe for freshly heated soup. (Umm, lovely giblets. Can you pass the salt?  Ta.)

As it happens, I had a very urgent appointment on Sunday morning for coffee on the beach, so on prising myself out of my sick bed (had been imbibing fish soup the previous day, having run out of chickens - possibly because they were all taking part in the bloody London Marathon) - I went over to my living room window to see what all the traffic noise was about in the street below. (Sunday mornings are usually quiet, it's the middle of the night when you get noisy traffic round here).

I live on a crossroads.  One of the roads had been closed off.  Not a good time to do this; for one thing it's Mercury Retrograde (oh, don't bother yourselves, I'll fill you in on it another time), for another, half of the street connecting one major thoroughfare to another had been drastically reduced in width because of roadworks, and now, among the hundreds of cars that were gridlocked thanks to the sudden road closure, there were lots of buses trying to negotiate the redirected route, too.

I looked down the street that had been barricaded to see a fearful sight - men and women bobbing up and down in bright spandex.  Not a couple, not a few, but over eight thousand of them, I later discovered.

Well, I knew the London Marathon was arduous, I just hadn't realized that it started in Nice.

Anyway, out I went (not in bright spandex), and ambled down to the Promenade for my rendezvous.  And that's almost as far as I got.  For the road that runs alongside the beach was entirely full of joggers, jogging as if they would have looked completely stupid in neon rainbow clingy jumpsuits had they decided to walk.  


I wanted to cross the road to the beach cafe.  I looked left.  I looked right.  Joggers to the left of me, joggers to the right of me - into the promenade of deathly attire it was impossible to ride.

From the port to a distant point on the way to the airport, there were joggers jiggling in every direction.

Many of us wanted to traverse the Promenade des Anglais.  We live by the sea, it's not entirely unreasonable to want to get to it from time to time. Especially on a Sunday. But the Promenade (it's a PROMENADE, joggers, you're supposed to PROMENADE on it, otherwise it would be known as a JOGGENADE, would it not???) was saturated by the spandex crowd. For miles. 

There are no underground pedestrian tunnels to gain access to the beach. No overhead walkways. The place was designed as if beach goers are grown up enough to cross the road safely under their own devices, negotiating speeding tons of metal coming at them from all directions without any help.  

Negotiating joggers, however, is an altogether different - and evidently more dangerous - matter.

(Why did the chicken cross the road?  He didn't. Too many people jogging in sodding chicken costumes stopping him from getting to the other side).*

*  Or was it that he was just too chicken?

I managed to get to the narrow island in the middle of a pedestrian crossing area, where 45 others were also perched, waiting for a chance to reach the Promised Land of pebbles, friends and coffee.  And there I stood for 15 minutes.

I won't tell you how I managed it in the end, but suffice to say there's a really interesting domino effect when you stick a foot out 45 degrees from your body in an absent-minded, menopausal kind of a way. Which subsequently made the hardest part of traversing that narrow width of tarmac being able to effect the journey without laughing my head off.

Oh, and yes, lovely day in the end - coffee turned into lunch, I got home at 5.30pm.  By which time there wasn't one single chicken in sight.

Clucking marvellous.


P.S.  Yes, I know chickens are female, should anyone else want to have a go at educating me.  We used to keep hens in the back garden. Rare breeds, all: Swarfega (my favourite), Nutella, Fruitella, Anaglytpa and Dyspepsia.  

To my knowledge they never entered a race in which they had to dress up as themselves. Nor did they try to cross the road. 

They did come into the house from time to time (egg-delivery used to be a sight more personal in those days) and follow me around on the grass when I teased them with grain, not to mention take soil-baths in the summer, but they were all extraordinarily well-balanced chickens (except for perhaps all of them) and knew I would have taken a very dim view of any monkey business. Which is just as well, since they were chickens.

All now jogged off to that great hen house in the sky, graves close to the house.

RIP, girls.

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