21 March 2010

Man, is my NCAA basketball bracket in a mess after yesterday’s upsets. How is everyone else’s? At least my overall pick for the championship is still in the mix.

According to an article on the Guardian web site, Spring is getting ready to EXPLODE in the UK. “Get on with it,” is what we say!

Apparently, this has been the longest and hardest winter in the UK for thirty years with twice as many frosty nights as usual. Well, at least that’s what the Met Office (those pesky weather forecasters) say and, while they may not be so hot at predicting the weather, I guess they do know what they’re talking abut when they are reflecting on the weather gone by. So, I think we’ll have to take their word for it and, I have to say, this is also our perception.

Snowdrops at Chipping WardenAccording to the article, swathes of the countryside which should be green by now are still dull and grey and many spring flowers could be delayed by up to a month! But it’s not all bad news: amongst those celebrating the late arrival of spring are galanthophiles or lovers of Snowdrops (no, I didn’t know what it meant either). Indeed, our personal observations would suggest that there certainly are an abundance of snowdrops this year, great swathes of white brushed across the river banks and under the trees. Others who are delighted with the news of a record-breaking cold winter are those who enjoy the company of bats; the hard, cold winter provides an opportunity for a deep, refreshing hibernation, especially amongst the baby bats. So, that’s good news.

On the other hand, small birds traditionally suffer through a cold winter as do herons and kingfishers if the water is frozen for any significant period of time. Thank goodness Penelope’s Pantry provided some welcome sustenance during the really cold and snowy days.

Still, today is the vernal equinox so at least we are headed in the right direction. And, according to the same article, the swallows, swifts, willow warblers, ring ouzel and housemartins are well on their migratory way back to the UK. We’ll let you know when ours arrive.

Now for the bad news: the Met Office is “predicting” that Spring is set to explode. However, based on previous experiences, their powers of prediction are somewhat limited (witness last summer’s prediction of a “barbeque” summer and the repeated warnings of Himalayan snow-drifts). Since they’ve now predicted it, does this mean that Spring will never arrive?

I commented a few weeks ago about the 40 something males who participate in a vigorous workout in the Jacuzzi at the gym each week. I have another observation which I hope someone can explain. Why are adolescent young men under the impression that spraying litres of aerosol deodorant all over themselves is a substitute for soap and water?

VI see these lads in the changing rooms who have just returned from a strenuous bit of exercise; they might have been lifting weights in the gym or, more probably, played in a football/soccer match in the sports hall. They come to the changing room dripping with perspiration yet the concept of a shower after exercise is clearly absurd. So, instead they wipe themselves off with a towel, get dressed and then proceed to spray enough aerosol deodorant to suffocate a small village all over themselves and, get this, their clothes!

Notice that the preferred sequence is to get at least partially dressed before utilising the deodorant – I am not kidding nor making this up. After getting more or less dressed, they open their shirt and spray their underarms, chest and stomach. I’ve not yet observed anyone stretching the band of their Jockey shorts to spray their nether regions but I am guessing that this is not beyond the realm of possibility. Then, having ensured that the top half of their torso is sufficiently deodorised, they then spray all over their shirt and/or sweater as well!

Clearly their objective here is to mask the stench of their exercise with the “perfume” provided by the deodorant, rather similar to the way in which the Elizabethan aristocracy would indeed use perfume to mask their smells in the 16th century. Still, this is the 21st century and we have ready access to plentiful, warm water and soap. I appreciate that the advertising industry has convinced generations that the only way a young woman/girl will be remotely interested in you is because of the scent provided by a particular brand of deodorant but I am not buying it.

Perhaps it’s just a matter of saving time or perhaps it’s because they’re hoping that any young women who venture sufficiently close to these lads will be overcome by the fumes and faint at their feet. Any thoughts?

Yours smelling lovely without the use of gallons of deodorant,

Love to you all,