Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Cycling, sexism and seagulls!

Apart from very briefly, while paying for coffees in the Maracaibo, seeing footage of cyclists slogging up hills in the sunshine, we have seen nothing of the Tour de France this year. Years ago we used to watch a summary of the day's activity every afternoon at around 4.30, courtesy of Channel 4 I believe. One year when it was perfectly clear who was going to win - one of Induráin's successes I think - we set off on a family camping holiday just before the final weekend and spent the first few days of our holiday trying to find someone in Brittany who could tell us who came second. Last year, on my son's birthday, we sat on a hillside above Holmfirth, a shortish drive from our house, and watched stage three of the Tour go through that bit of Yorkshire. But this year, nothing! No TV in our flat here, and we just haven't been in a bar with sport on the TV at the right time. 

I have felt quite sorry for the Madrileño, Contador, hoping for success this year and just not finding his form. You see, we have been reading the reports in the newspapers. He is up there in the top ten or so but not quite managing to be in among the real leaders. It seems he found the mountains in France very hard and had some difficulty breathing with the heat on the way up. 

Our boy Froome has a nice lead and may well, barring nasty accidents, make it all the way to Paris in the yellow jersey. Tour followers have not all been kind to him though. Apparently he has had had urine thrown at him by cycling fans who believe he may have been taking drugs. They are all tested over and over again but, of course, it's hard to be certain about the innocence of riders. However. I don't think it's down to the fans to judge them. It must be particularly unpleasant to be slogging away, riding all out (with or without drugs) and suddenly find someone throwing pee in your face! I could quite understand his swearing at the fans, although I really don't know whether he reacted that way or not. 

Someone who did swear was one of the candidates for the Labour Party leadership. She is slender, has a good figure, goes running to keep fit and so on. None of this has anything to do with her politics. And yet a journalist felt the need to comment on this when interviewing her, going so far as to speculate about her weight. Was she not perhaps about the same weight as the Duchess of Cambridge? She told the reporter to **** off! Quite understandable! 

Reporters tend not to ask male politicians such questions, although I can quite see that day coming. More and more attention is paid nowadays to their image. Perhaps we should only ever be governed by the beautiful and extra-presentable. Surely it is more important that they have policies and opinions about crucial matters of the day. Such as seagulls! 

Yes, seagulls! A Cornish MP has appealed to the environment secretary for something to be done about seagulls. Culling them perhaps! It seems they have been attacking people's pets, even overturning someone's pet tortoise and pecking it to death! David Cameron says it needs careful thought! Well, yes! 

Seagulls are quite frightening birds, large and often very aggressive. I have seen what they do to stuff left on cafe tables, sometimes while the occupants of the tables are still there. I reckon Hitchcock must have seen some thing similar before he made "The Birds"!

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