The Belles-Lettres of Blovius
as cut-n-pasted from a newsgroup

28 NOVEMBER 2000 Marin seatpost trouble

Someone a couple of years ago nicked my stem, headset, bars, levers, shifters and pooter mountings. So they had allen keys, headset spanners AND cable cutters. Bastards.

Determined and well-equipped thieves indeed to tap out the cups of a headset! I can only assume that your forks were not worth having, or they would doubtless have made off with those as well! I really cannot agree with your use of foul language however, whatever frustration you may feel at the theft. You should be ashamed.
N. Lenderby (Mrs)

My dear Mrs. Lenderby, if I might intercede: the young man may well have had some knowledge of the parentage of the rough chaps in question. By calling them 'bastards', perhaps Mr. Gareth was simply being precise. Oh, I know that such a term may fall afoul of the PC Police, but as my father used to opine, 'Always call a shovel a shovel, Theodore.' In any event, if you think 'bastard' is offensive, you should see the sort of language I encounter as I continue my online research into into unusual gynecological events. It is not to be countenanced! But that is another thread. I feel that we are 'two peas in a pod', Nora - may I call you Eunice? Perhaps you might be free for tea sometime soon? Your husband is most welcome to watch.
Theodore Blovius II (esq.)

I don't think this is very funny, and neither does my husband.
N. Lenderby (Mrs)

I, too, am appalled by Theodore's online manners, but I don't think he was attempting to be amusing. That's just Theo's way. I can say this with some authority, as I used to be married to the man. Though my husband and I are now estranged, both legally and spiritually, I still keep tabs on him and clean up his messes. A 20 year-old-habit is hard to break. Theodore's addiction to the web - his 'studies' in particular - contributed mightily to the breakup. Unfortunately he fancies himself some kind of latter-day Sir Richard Francis Burton when it comes to women's private parts. I can also cast light on his undoubtedly perplexing desire to call you Eunice. This name is of Greek origin, and means 'good victory', you see. It's an obscure and tedious reference of his which doesn't bear close scrutiny. Kudos to you in your fight for decency on the web.
(The former Mrs. Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

My niece, who knows more about these matters than I do, says that it is clear from your 'headers' (whatever they may be!) that you and your supposed estranged husband are one and the same person. Such deception is deplorable, and I'm sure others will join me in condemning it out of hand! As if this were not enough, she also suggests that that the same person has been impersonating [name removed]. On reflection this should have been obvious that your turgid prose in no way approximates Mr [...]'s refulgent wit and facility with our diverse and beautiful language. I shall be contacting him about this matter, be assured of that, and I'm sure that he will not be at all amused! You should be ashamed of yourself!
N. Lenderby (Mrs)

Your alter-egos are showing baby! You are all [...], AICMFP.
John Laird

How absurd! I most certainly am not [...], and I am beginning to suspect that all of his messages to this mailing list have been forgeries. I'm sure he has much better things to do with his time than waste it talking about anything, it seems, except bicycles. I don't find it entertaining in the least!
N. Lenderby (Mrs)

p.s. I dread to think what AICMFP is supposed to mean, but it is clearly not something polite people would want to hear. How dare you!
N. Lenderby (Mrs)

Oh AUNTIE. You really are IMPOSSIBLE!! I have told You a Thousand Times to take more care before accusing people, and Mrs Blovius is also a close Friend of dear Algernon's Mother (I do hope He will not be too angry). She has more than enough to put up with from that beastly Husband, without You accusing Her of Deception. I think You should apologise at once. Please forgive Her, dear Readers. I did tell Her the Bicycle was not worth repairing, and Daddy has even said He will buy Her a new one for Christmas, but She still wouldn't listen until She had not only called upon the Wisdom of the Internet but also dragged the poor dear Colonel down to the Outhouse to inspect the Damage. She is just so headstrong!

This person is an impostor. I do not have a niece called Daphne, I do not know anybody called Algernon, or any Colonel. My brother has been dead these three years. It should be clear to anyone that this person is not making any sense, quite apart from not knowing how to capitalise correctly, and is probably German. Cannot we all just talk about cycling Isn't that what this mailing list is for?
Yours in frustration, N. Lenderby (Mrs)

15 OCTOBER 2002 (interlude)

Actually, I always assumed that Nora Lenderby was you.
Mark M

Ah, Nora. I still remember that stolen night in Rome: 'I frutti proibiti sono i piu dolci,' she whispered after a romantic tandem ride along the Via Veneto, and I replied 'But I'm not forbidden my love, this ring I wear represents a contract null and void, I just can't get it off,' and she laughed, the way she does, and tugged playfully at it, then a bit harder, until she was gritting her teeth and really pulling now - it hurt like hell but that's love, it sometimes hurts like hell. She spat on her hands to get a better grip but it was no use. 'Loshka degtya ve bulke modje!' she growled in her mother tongue, the multilingual little minx. There were tears in her eyes. I tried to wipe them away but she just slapped me, muttering 'It's no use, the finger will have to go, you have others,' and casting about for a rusty blade in her purse. Finally she gave up her search with a huge sigh, her angel face melted into a pout, and told me 'It is not meant to be, but we will meet again.' Then she disappeared into the night, taking the tandem with her.

Just some background for you.

Alright, who are these people, google has never heard of them :)
Lardy Ninja

The thread was called 'Marin seat post trouble' and started (innocently enough with a genuine query) on 25th November 2000. Nora Lenderby made her first appearance on the 29th and admonished somebody for swearing. But the real fun started when that elicited a response from Theodore Blovius followed by cameo appearances from his estranged wife Gertrude and Nora's niece Daphne. I'm pretty certain these are all creations of our own champion of the surreal, although he's never admited to it.
Andy Welch

I'd forgotten all about that thread. It's probably still going on, somewhere.
David Freeman

21 APRIL 2004 Survey - what would you do?

What would you do if helmets became mandatory?

It would be the final straw. I would emigrate to a more civilised country.
N. Lenderby (Mrs)

Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that my old hotmail account is no longer accessible due to the trifling matter of a forgotten password! I'd swear it was 'Little Richard', my pet name for my former husband's small intestine - how I cherished his alimentary canal. I wrote a very nice 'email' to Bill, explaining to him about my troubles, which include but are not limited to sciatica and a complicated tax situation, but despite his business acumen he has scant regard for his true customer base. Thus have I made the delightfully uneventful journey to yahoo.

Nora and I have had our differences over the years, however we agree wholeheartedly on at least two things of which I'm aware: Satan is a very handsome man with an immodestly large 'package' which he uses to attract women (and dare I say men) of looser morals than ourselves; and Britain has gone downhill - the gradient is perhaps as steep as 1 in 3 these days - and is rapidly being vacated by people of discernment. I myself have taken refuge these past several years in a tropical paradise which, aside from an unfortunate infestation of Germans (no offense to anyone here, except Germans of course, of which my husband was secretly one), suits me to a 'T', though it lacks certain basic necessities such as Marmite, which when applied with a practiced hand can be very efficacious. About helmets, I have absolutely no opinion.
(The former Mrs. Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

25 APRIL 2004 Critical Mass

Over the last month, I have been sworn at on thirteen occasions. Cut up on eight occassions. Had stuff thrown at me twice out of a car window - fortunately I was wearing a helmet on the second occassion, and the apple just bounced off harmlessly.

That was me throwing the apple, an orange pippin if memory serves; I was aiming at a nearby rubbish bin. I blush to admit that I may also have been the malefactrix in at least one of the swearing incidents. The occasion was an argument with my former husband Theodore, who nurtures a pathological (he maintains neurological) dislike for Bromptons along with an almost Tourette's-like compulsion to comment on the pulchritude or lack thereof of folding-bicycle aficionados of the female persuasion. I typically hold my tongue on such occasions, as I have so often during our long and brutally wearing post-connubial association, but alas I'd had about as much as I could take and 'I could takes no more'. I told him that other people were not put on this earth solely to be on the receiving end of his inappropriate observations; the language I employed was uncharacteristically salty and shocked even my own broadly liberal sensibilities. It was almost an out-of-body experience, like much of our previous sex life. During the course of our fracas I seem to recall hurling a particularly unladylike epithet his way and watching in horror as it was absorbed instead by a passing cyclist, who wobbled slightly but continued on with renewed vigour, no doubt grateful to be in possession of a means of escape from such a vile urban tableaux. I apologise unreservedly.
(The former Mrs. Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

27 APRIL 2004 My first commute to London

Today was my first commute into London... I checked the BBC weather and was pleased to see that this week would be dry and sunny all week so I didn't bother with rain stuff and had an enjoyable ride in... I really didn't realise how many cyclists commute into London. I tried to keep up with the first few to learn the route better but couldn't. In fact every single cyclist I met went past me. I had to get off and cross at many junctions because I just wasn't sure or confident enough to get in the right lane... Anyway at the end of the day it was fun and it took me just over an hour... I've been couch potato for just about 43 years now. Never been on a diet because I know they don't work but need to lose a couple of stone really. Always said it's all about lifestyle - well this is mine now. So watch out !

You are to be congratulated on your maiden voyage, and I will indeed 'watch out' for you as I am a single woman who, although well past the first bloom of youth, is yet able to command male attention, particularly as regards my legs, which as Abraham Lincoln might have observed are long enough to get the job done.

Your story puts me in mind of my own journey into two-wheeled independence, prompted by of all things my ardour for one Theodore Blovius (esq.), then a promising young physician freshly installed in his new Harley Street practice. I was at that time a resident of Elephant & Castle, given to circumnavigating the large roundabout in search of girlish adventures, but forbidden by my dear skittish mum from enlarging my orbit. She even disapproved of my rapid cadence, which she ever regarded as unbecoming a lady.

One day my skirts got caught up in the bicycle chain and dashed me to the ground, necessitating a trip to hospital, where I was to encounter what remains the one great, sad love of my life: Theodore. Oh, if you could have seen him then in all his musky glory! I was instantly smitten, though as anybody who is aware of our subsequent history, better I had cinched my skirts tight and not introduced them to that chain in the first place...

Theodore consulted on my case, which involved abrasions of the most intimate nature, and, blinking shyly, advised that I visit Harley Street for a follow-up some weeks hence. My mother was appalled that I would even consider venturing north of the river, and insisted on male companionship in the shape of my cousin Leo, a strapping lad not much given to intellectual pursuits or personal grooming but possessed of a fierce protective nature for feminine virtue. Or so thought mum. He was easily bought off by a few sticks of hard candy and his first confirmed sighting of ankle; I was on my way.

Oh, what an adventure! Even now my heart races to think of it. Remember that those were the days when female emancipation meant being allowed to use the tele-phone without asking first. I 'warmed up' for my adventure by racing several laps around the roundabout, revving up to a certain escape velocity of the heart, and was finally shot free of my clockwise prison.

Of course, I immediately became lost. At one point I even washed up on Clapham Common, where my father often found day employment washing small dogs in vats of broth. Every road offered enthralling new vistas of freedom, subverting my sense of direction. My fellow wheelmen and women were obviously a very fit breed: I found it impossible to draft even the slowest of them, and my shouted entreaties for directions were lost in the eddies of their tailwind. I even dismounted my machine and draped myself across the tarmac like a 'speed bump' to better attract their attention. Still no luck, just a fresh appreciation for pneumatic tyres and a new collection of bruises for the doctor to examine. Eventually, with the help of a police constable who also requested hard candy, I bested the Thames and deposited myself into Theodore's clinical embrace. He was very thorough. Six months later we married.

The bicycle is indeed a wonderful invention.
(The former Mrs Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

28 APRIL 2004 Pennyfarthing's Wager

I am generating a new thread because I do not wish to pollute Bob's 'My first commute to London' discussion with further off-topic ramblings. I note that the former Mrs Theodore Blovius suffers from no such embarrassment. She has always been strong-willed and outspoken, traits which are admirable in a woman but can be tedious in a wife.

It behooves me to clear up a few misconceptions forwarded by Gertrude into the public domain. No doubt her intentions were sincere, but I have a very low tolerance for the viewing of history through 'rose-tinted Oakleys'. We did not in fact make our introductions at a hospital after she caught her skirts in the chain of a velocipede. What romantic twaddle! We met instead at Covent Garden, where she was selling flowers to augment the meagre income generated by her father's weasel-handicapping business. (Careful readers will note that already I have corrected several curious fictions, including Gertrude's perplexing assertion that she was seldom exposed to the milieu to be found north of the river.)

I happened to be dining that night with a friend, Colonel Pennyfarthing, who for reasons known only to himself wagered that I could not teach the girl to ride a bicycle. Thinking this to be a coarse metaphor I readily agreed, and was already making the mental journey to a local merchant who stocks sheepsgut when it suddenly occurred to me that the Colonel was to be taken at his word: Could I teach this poor thing to balance herself on two wheels with concomitant self-propulsion? Forthwith I brought her to my lodgings to begin the education.

It was not easy; somewhat like attempting to teach an otter to appreciate Mendelssohn. Still, she was game, and hardly seemed to notice the collection of bruises which soon appeared on her knees. It took a great good while to achieve her first success: the ability to balance which most even mildly symmetrical people take for granted. (Unfortunately Gertrude has received as part of her genetic heritage a rare condition which predisposes the organs on one side of her body to accumulate water and thus weight, setting her more or less permanently off-kilter. It's an odd thing to see and even odder to sleep next to, as I was to discover during our married life, when nights were filled with the not unmelodious tinkling of her internal fluids 'evening out'.) We soon solved this problem - which alternated sides according to a mysterious physiological schedule I will not go into here - by a complicated system of weights, which left her with the task of learning to pedal.

Alas, for a woman this simple procedure does not come as easily as it does for a man. Merely observe and you shall see for yourself the almost majestic inability of the 'weaker vessel' to adapt her musculature to the required habits of motion and countermotion. I persevered. Tears were shed. I offered carrots and sticks with each turn of the cranks. Slowly, gradually, we achieved success. First 10 feet; then a block; then cross-town forays to Soho for more carrots and sticks. I knew that when she began pestering me to affix a bell to her handlebars to warn other road users of her confident passage that I had won Pennyfarthing's wager.

I then had other business to attend to involving the distribution of certain patent-pending gynecological devices, which unfortunately took me away from my digs for some time. When I returned my pupil had vanished. The housekeeper tartly informed me that she was attempting the London to Brighten NOT Hove run. Shortly thereafter she turned up at my door, sadder but incrementally wiser. She had got as far as Lewisham and called on mater and pater, eager to show off her new talents. It seems they did not recognise their own daughter in lycra; and she was no longer welcome in her old haunts, either. It was then that I realised that this was the woman for me. Only later did it transpire that it wasn't - but that's another story.
Theodore Blovius II (esq.)

[snip Pygmalion-inspired reverie] I do not wish to dwell on my irascible former soulmate's manifold errors, including his loveable misspelling of Brighton. While it's possible that I may have exaggerated a few minor details out of respect for what we once shared, my account sailed far closer to the shores of truth than yours, dearest. It does pain me to admit that the art of bicycling did not come to me as naturally as it does to others, sexist drivel notwithstanding. I still must cycle with a 5-lb bag of sifted flour on my left shoulder to balance things out.

In point of fact I have much better 'road sense' than does Theodore, who I once witnessed shaking his fist in anger at a pelican crossing, and who after having had the benefit of many decades to learn the secrets of traffic lights remains utterly confounded by their colour coding system. Add to this the fact that he often refuses to merge on principle, demands 'personal space' of several hundreds of metres in all directions at all times, and hoots like a monkey whenever confronted by the inevitable traffic police his antics attract, and you begin to see the extent of the problem.

He also enters the deep end when it comes to even the most minor of repairs. I take some pride in the fact that I am able to patch an inner-tube and be on my way in well under six hours; Theodore has been known to check into a B&B whenever he is so afflicted.

Nevertheless, we did have many happy years together if you group them concurrently.
(The former Mrs Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

[snip delusional verbiage] I confess there are occasions when I turn one speaker of my 'hi-fi' towards the other at a distance of no more than a few hundredths of an inch, twist the volume up as far as the knob will allow, and let Wagner battle Wagner woofer to woofer. I do this whenever I'm attempting to digest one of the former Mrs Blovius's communications. There's something about the muffled racket that fills me with a strange feeling of intellectual satisfaction, if not peace.

There can be no doubt that the 'tall-tales' featuring me and authored by you or the roomful of monkeys you employ are of breathtakingly little interest to the denizens of this newsgroup, Gertrude. Yet you persist with this medium to broadcast even the most fleeting bubble of what passes for thought which makes the short journey across your mind. Even as I pop these bubbles you persist. And so I become a slave to this miserable keyboard when I really do have better ways to spend my valuable time.

For example, I am currently hard at work on a device to be fitted to bicycles of the fairer sex which will enable them to park their machine whilst it remains freestanding, rather than lean it against a tree or some other large immovable object - fine for their menfolk, but an abhorrence to a woman who is much less pleased with scratches on the pretty paintwork. Yes, I know all about 'kickstands'; don't make me laugh. The designs are an affront to even an amateur mechanical engineer such as myself. Even in the prototype stage my Vertical Bicycle Enhancer shames the competition. That it adds approximately 17 stone to the weight of the average bicycle is but a minor detail which I shall possibly address with the use of 'space-age' materials such as Bakelite.

Thus it should be apparent to even the most casual lurker that when the precious synapses of my brain are rerouted for the purpose of curbing the more egregious figments of your imagination, humanity loses much in the bargain.
Theodore Blovius II (esq.)

5 MAY 2004 The Great Helmet Debate

I've drafted a page with my thoughts on the debate. It focuses more on the characteristics of the debaters than on the actual content of the debate, but I think understanding the people you're arguing with is actually quite important.
Danny Colyer

Linnaeus himself would be pleased with your classifications. As it happens I have self-published a monograph on the subject of helmets and the quality of the brains they purport to protect; one day I plan to make it available to the public, when I deem the 'common man' to be ready for my startling revelations. In the mean-while I shall content myself with relating the following anecdote:

The former Mrs Blovius and I chose as the locus of our honeymoon an ill-fated tour of the west country (Dorking in particular), by tandem bicycle. She was at that time subject to a nervous condition which she later overcame thanks to the salubrious effect of my personality but which inevitably contributed to a disappointing experience awheel. My unbashful bride insisted as a precondition to mounting the tandem that the captaincy be awarded to herself. She didn't trust my skills in that department on the basis of a few minor skirmishes I had been party to during our engagement. Readers, she considered me un-roadworthy! This is unmitigated hogwash; I am perfectly capable of piloting any given vehicle on a safe trajectory along the Queen's Highway provided I am not surrounded by the phrenologically-challenged. However, in the spirit of marital harmony I acquiesced.

Our 'maiden voyage' was much smoother than I had anticipated, thanks in large measure to my expert instructions and helpful running commentary. All went well for several hundreds of feet, at which point Gertrude unexpectedly put an abrupt halt to our fine momentum. This not being a course of action I had expected or planned for, my normally excellent sense of balance vacated me. I toppled off unceremoniously, striking my head against her whalebone corset along the way. She was surprisingly unapologetic, positing that not only had I insisted upon the garment which had just gored me but that I was in some sense responsible: 'too much talking and not enough pedalling' was how she unkindly put it whilst briskly attending to my flesh wound. It then occurred to me that if only for the sake of future generations of scientists my head be properly swaddled in hardy materials.

Ever after I have worn a helmet of my own devising, eschewing sissyboy foam and polystyrene in favour of whalebone and leather, cinched tight.
Theodore Blovius II (esq.)

Theodore, being nothing more than a man, is blessed with the memory of an addled sheep, but no great harm done - I am here to set the record straight.

While it is true that our honeymoon in the general vicinity of Dorking had its moments of high and low comedy, the incident of the tandem fits into an entirely different category altogether: tragedy. Sharing a two-seater with Theodore is like being tied to a mast with Captain Queeg but without the promise of strawberries to sweeten the deal. He is of the disposition that a woman does not belong in front (or on top, but that's another matter), and should a woman be so unfortunate as to reverse this natural order of things, he will expound on the flaws of such an arrangement at considerable length and volume. While it is not unhealthy for a man to entertain a certain sense of mastery, or even to have a passing fondness for ball-bearings in proper context, there is something to be said for the strong silent type. Yes, I cut our journey short, and yes, poor Theodore took a tumble, injuring his pride more than anything. However I have yet to meet a whalebone corset outside of a museum; it perplexes me that I find myself wearing one simply to provide my former husband with his 'moment of inspiration'. What next, clipless stiletto heels?

My less fanciful recollection is that Theo took to wearing a garden-variety helmet for times when he wished to pursue his questionable studies in the shed, a ramshackle affair far more dangerous than even the M25.
(The former Mrs Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

Linnaeus himself would be pleased with your classifications. As it happens I have self-published a monograph on the subject of helmets and the quality of the brains they purport to protect.

If you mean the piece published in the back of the April issue of C+ under the name of one of your alter-egos, I was hunting for it on Bikereader last night in the hope of adding a link. I enjoyed that article.
Danny Colyer

I found myself at the website in question after accidentally 'googling' something dreadfully inappropriate due to keyboard error (the cause of many heart-attacks amongst the elderly and well-reared, according to the British Journal of Medicine); the contributor roster may be long and occasionally illustrious, but the lapses in taste and good sense are equally astonishing.

After much frustrating navigating and wincing, I located the relevant article here, lurking in an apparent subset of the main bikereader site devoted exclusively to the writings of one of the lesser lights in the literary firmament. This particular spider-hole is accessed via clicking on the recumbent gentleman irritatingly lounging about on the main page. Suffice it to say I cut, pasted, then immediately fled the scene.

As for Theodore's monograph, to my knowledge it remains unpublished because he has yet to locate a vanity press which will accept a manuscript in crayon. The illustrations alone are enough to get him listed by the authorities as a candidate for electronic tagging.
(The former Mrs Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

Ever after I have worn a helmet of my own devising, eschewing sissyboy foam and polystyrene in favour of whalebone and leather, cinched tight.

I like it. Pictures please:-)
David Hansen

My dear Mr Hansen, while it is true that Theodore anticipated many 'Kodak moments' as we explored our feelings for each-other, and was careful to pack a camera, the film was later confiscated by our B&B landlady in lieu of payment for a damaged trouser press.
(The former Mrs Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

My sister recently told me off for not wearing a helmet (as it happens, I do wear one most of the time, I just didn't on this occasion). I reckon I'm an Informed Sceptic. My sister is definitely a Clueless Newbie. You will be interested to hear that she is also a nurse.

Tangentially, the mention of nurse's heart-bleeding wail for helmets reminds me of (this is plagiarised):
"Consider the famous response of Goethe to the humanitarian Frau von Stein, who wrote him in 1787 exalting the moral progress of their time. "Also, I must say myself," he replied, "I think it true that humanity will triumph eventually, only I fear that at the same time the world will become a large hospital and each will become the other's humane nurse." Goethe feared a world in which the sole criterion for virtue would be solicitude for the suffering, a world in which "I feel your pain, won't you please feel mine?" would replace all more exacting--and ennobling--standards.

Sir! A man who can fearlessly introduce Goethe into this thorny topic of debate is to be reckoned with. As the polymath himself said just before he shuffled off this mortal coil, "More light!"
Theodore Blovius (esq.)

I believe, Sir, that it was actually the rather pedestrian "Macht doch den zweiten Fensterladen auch auf, damit mehr Licht hereinkomme" (Open the second shutter, so that more light can come in.) However his publisher, being seduced by the growing fashion for soundbites, decided "Mehr Licht!" was a more media friendly epitaph for his great client.
Tony Raven

6 MAY 2004 Retake driving test when you get older

(I hope my mother doesn't read this) but being a passenger when she's driving is positively alarming. It's not so much the speed which, although fast, is not madly so; it's the acceleration, tailgating and last minute deceleration that worries me.

Then again, maybe most drivers are like that it's just that I'm not used to being a passenger. In fact, I'm pushed to think of a single trip I've done that hasn't been scary recently.

My wife's OK (of course) but we do have heated debates over whether she's speeding or not. She's adamant that parallax adds an apparent 5mph when looking at the speedo from the passenger seat.
not responding

You could have almost described my former husband: it's not so much the grinding metal, the sirens, the blood; it's the insurance paperwork, the rehabilitation, the memorial services for innocent bystanders...

I was a passenger for quite a few years, and count myself fortunate to have survived my tenure with sanity intact. Under no circumstances was I permitted to drive while Theodore was in the car; 'It is my right as a man', he used to intone solemnly, clutching a letterhead from the Institute of Advanced Driving for further proof (if such was required) of his credentials. It was only much later that I learned, quite by accident, that the letter was a misdelivered subscription offer for the institute's magazine and that in fact he possessed no licence whatsoever except for a Bulgarian fish-paste import licence which was later deduced a forgery.

As for speeding, I am in agreement with your wife regarding parallax, a well-documented phenomenon affecting most cars of British manufacture.
(The former Mrs Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

7 MAY 2004 The Belles-Lettres of Blovius

It is my unpleasant task to inform the newsgroup at large that a person shortly to be introduced to my solicitor has ignored copyright law and common decency by publishing this on his web-site.

I do not recall giving my permission to reprint words which I have lovingly crafted from my own personal gray matter; others of you also quoted may feel the same. It is an outrageous situation, not unlike the Matrix Churchill affair.

Some may cry 'There is nothing we can do about it; it is the way of the world, Theodore', but my legal advisor informs me that, given a suitable nonrefundable retainer, he will construct a case for a class-action suit, with the possibility of substantial financial compensation based upon a per-word basis excluding prepositions, dangling participles, and ill-considered metaphors.
Theodore Blovius II (esq.)

On this issue I must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my former husband, though I have my doubts as to the quality of his firm of solicitors after I visited their registered office and was directed to a tanning booth, with no legal advice forthcoming even after I had selected 'Hawaiian sunset'.

Theodore is optimistic that the class-action suit will be a glorious victory, and has already spent his share of the punitive damages on a Moulton, which he intends to dismantle and 'improve' following the instruction of voices in his head.

I prefer not to count my chickens before they are hatched. Having said that, it is true that I am considering investing in a chicken farm which eschews the brutal battery-hen method in favour of free-range discotheques which encourage the natural rhythm of the birds, thus improving egg production.
(The former Mrs Theodore) Gertrude Blovius

Alas, it's missing the Original Mrs Lenderby on the subject of repairing her economic cycle (regardless of what her niece evidently told her). A focus on the post-marital problems of the Blovii is clearly misplaced.
Nick Kew

Hear, Hear.
Lieutenant Dalyrmple Nettles (ret.)

Aha! I have spotted you for the fraud you are! Everyone knows that the rhythm method reduces fecundity!
Guy Chapman

For the record, this appeared at bikereader.com some hours before it was posted to Usenet. And that's by google's clock, not some non-techie home user. So, now we know.
NIck Kew

All the more reason to seek legal redress.
Theodore Blovius II (esq.)

8 MAY 2004 The Belles-Lettres of Blovius cont'd - Gertrude contemplates the Dark Side

Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to knock one from one's deleterious orbit of self-pity and corrosive introspection. I am indebted to Mr Ew and Lieutenant Nettles for their enabling commentary, and Mr Chapman for his providential insight - Theodore and I employed the rhythm method with decidedly mixed results better detailed in alt.parenting. To celebrate this fresh state of mind I have turned a deaf ear to the siren-call of poultry and decided instead to invest any compensation into a recumbent bicycle. It is my sincere hope to 'get back in the saddle again'; it might as well be a comfortable one this time around! And what better way to insert myself into a desirable social circle? Perhaps knowledgeable members of the group can assist me in launching this endeavour.

Many years of 'sitting up and begging' (encouraged by you-know-who) leave me unprepared and not a little trepidatious at the skillset required to pilot such a vehicle. Does anyone know if there is an Open University course which may be helpful?

Where are my hands best employed, above or below?

LWB, SWB, or somewhere in the middle? Long wheelbase models appear to be more dignified, but decidedly out of fashion.

Is orange the new black, as I am given to understand?

As long as I'm splurging, should I invest in a SON dynohub, or can I continue to make do with my torch? Granted the duct-tape around my head has always been less than comfortable, though the roll was a wedding gift from my father.

What speeds may I be expected to achieve? The faster I escape into this new life the better, but once I get there I do hope I won't be expected to be a 'speed-demon'. Is there coercion amongst recumbent owners to maintain a certain velocity?

I would be most grateful for any advice offered concerning the above queries.
(A newly liberated) Gertrude Blovius

Others will answer all your questions in great detail, but first let me say I would consider it a privilege to ride with you anytime, anywhere. P.S. - I won't ride an orange bike if you won't wear any duct tape.

You might want to check with her former husband Theodore before writing any checks you may be reluctant to cash, if you see what I mean.
Guy Chapman

I take it you are the Mr. Chapman who has given providential insight as mentioned in her post. Don't bother to email a photo because I get the picture. Anyway there seems to be a possibility that chickens could be involved with this and I've never cared much for them as animals.

Acknowledged: I prefer them as birds, and not much so at that. They are, on the whole, impressively stupid, to the extent of making sheep look like Einstein by comparison. Quite how any creature so monumentally stupid has managed to survive the evolutionary crapshoot for so long is a matter of constant wonder to me.
Guy Chapman

Jon Senior


MAY 2005

Gertrude gets a room of her own and Theodore lands nearby


see also Yes, Gary, There Is a Fabrizio, Beam Us Up, Barbie Bell Hell