Saturday, 15 January 2011

Up and Atom!

"Atom Ant – that tiny ant!"

Well, okay, it should read 'up and at 'em' but I'm going way back to the days of that fantastic cartoon character, Atom Ant. Remember him? "He's rough, he's tough and bad guys can't get enough." Or at least I think that's how it goes. "Atom Ant, that tiny ant!" Looks like I'm going to have to check out You Tube on this one; and now, of course, it's got me thinking about other great cartoons you hardly see on TV these days. Remember Secret Squirrel? "He's got tricks/Up his sleeve/Most bad guys won't believe/Bullet-proof coat/Cannon hat/Machine gun cane with a rat-a-tat-a-tat". And then there's something about him being a squirrel of many faces and the line, "What's his name?" "Sssshhhhh, Secret Squirrel." And who can forget Morocco Mole, his assistant who kept saying, "Okay, Secret." Brilliant. But now, of course, we can't overlook other cartoon greats, like Hong Kong Phooey. "Is it the mild-mannered janitor?" Could be! How did the song go, "Hong Kong Phooey/Number One super guy/Hong Kong Phooey/Quicker than the human eye." And that's about as much as I remember.

Top Cat or Boss Cat? For me it was always the former.

Then there's Top Cat. Remember him and Officer Dibble, Benny the Ball and Chooch? I used to work with somebody who looked like Chooch. Chooch was the one who kept saying, "Okay TC." Again, where have all the cartoons gone? It's as if somebody has decided, in their wisdom, that the kids are too sophisticated for cartoons these days and have to make do with CGI. Now don't get me wrong; I love CGI when it's done properly, like all of Pixar's output, but some of the shit you get on children's TV in the morning is so rank. I've just remembered another one: Whacky Races with Dick Dastardly and Muttley and all the spin-offs: Catch the Pigeon, Dastardly & Muttley. Remember Clunk and that character that used to hide inside his own coat? "How does it work, Clunk?" And then Clunk made all these stupid noises as he tried to explain some Heath Robinson contraption designed to catch the pigeon, who, irritatingly, was never caught. But Whacky Races, it was probably the best of them all: Peter Perfect, Penelope Pitstop, the Boulder Brothers, Professor Pat Pending, the Creepy Coupe, the Arkansas Chug-a-bug and, of course, the Ant Hill Mob – and I almost forgot the Army Surplus Special. Fantastic! But they are, alas, no more; or rather some idiot working for the television channels had made the decision that kids can't watch them anymore. Instead they've got to put up with Tracy Beaker, MI High and other rubbish. Someone should start up a petition to bring them back. In fact, I think I'll nip down to HMV and see if I can find some cartoon DVDs – show my daughter just what she's been missing.

If you need your memory jogged, click here.

So, it's, 0626 and I've been up since 0550 drinking tea and getting ready for my first cycle in weeks. Andy's back from Jamaica and we're all set to meet on Warlingham Green shortly so I mustn't make myself too cosy here in the conservatory. It's still dark outside and once again I'm beginning to wish I'd bought myself a rear light, but hey, that's a perennial issue for me as avid readers of this blog will know. I've probably got time for another cup of tea so hold on a second while I go and make one, I'll put three dots down to indicate that I've left the computer for a minute, here they are...hi, I'm back. I've brought the mug with the teabag still in it so I don't lose any time, which means that in a second or two they'll be some more dots as I stop writing to take out the bag and place it on the plate that carried my toast. Now there's just a few crumbs as evidence, but that's it. In fact I considered making myself more toast on the premise that I'd be exercising it all off, but then I figured that it's still dark out there and I can't see if it's been raining or not.

Alright, there is that slight bit of me that wants it to rain so I can stay here in the warm instead of going out, but a larger part of me wants to get out there again as it's been so long. I'm kind of worried about the bike, to be honest as I haven't checked it out and the last thing I want is a puncture, that would ruin everything. Hold on, it's time to take out that're supposed to leave the bag stewing in their for three minutes otherwise all you've got is coloured water. Did you know that? My wife, when she makes a cup of tea, always takes the bag out once the water is tea-coloured. I hate that. Of late we've reverted back to a pot of tea, which is always by far the best option, but this early in the morning, when everybody else is still in bed and it's just me, a teabag is the best option, although I guess that if I'd made a pot I wouldn't have trampsed into the kitchen just a while back to make another cup. Enough already.

So what's been happening? Well, I just checked out the news and the actress Susannah York has died, aged 72. In Tunisia a new interim leader has been sworn in and – for Simon Cotter – Andy Strauss and Kevin Pietersen have both hit half centuries "as England sets their sights on a big score in Melbourne". Former England footy player Paul Gascoigne is suing the News of the World over the phone-tapping allegations and Giffords is still critical but making good progress in the US, she's been taken off the ventilator. So, with the exception of Susannah York's death, all good news.

I can't believe my tea is still scorching hot. How many paragraphs back did I make it? One thing I have noticed about this morning is wind. Not me, although I did have a curry last night. On that score, by the way, the Khyber in Kingswood, it's the best: the portion sizes are just right, the food is top quality and the service is second to none – unobtrusive but there when you need it. No, the wind I'm referring to is outside in the real world. It's still dark out there so I can't see how much the trees are swinging about, but every now and then I hear it, and wind is not good for cycling, it slows you down. Not that Andy and I are a couple of Lycra-clad nob cheeses, we're not. In a second or two I'll be going out to the kitchen to prepare the tea, something else I haven't done for a while and then I'll be going upstairs to put on a pair of trousers – yes, I'm sitting here in my boxers, admittedly with a jumper on as it's not warm in the conservatory.

0645 and it's still dark. The wind's blowing and I'm hoping it's not going to rain. Only time will tell, but the last thing I want after my cold is to get a soaking. I reckon today will be a short one, possibly to Tatsfield Village or even the famous Tatsfield Bus Stop. There's no point in overdoing things.

Anyway, I'd better sign off as I'm talking too much and my tea is getting cold. Naturally you can expect another report later today on the cycle itself, but until then, bye bye.

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