Cute and Cuddly in Shangrila!

After being in such a good mood on Friday evening I set about with gusto my exercise programme on the Saturday morning just after I had managed to obtain tickets to see Rush at the MEN in October. Full of enthusiasm I set about honing this lumpen body into the Lean Mean Knobbing machine of my desires. The first few sit ups were quite easy and painless so I did a few more, I mean how hard can this be? After a third set I began to feel a slight twinge in my abdomen but after all no pain no gain right? After a final fourth set and a positive glow in my stomach muscles I decided to call it a day. The day sorta came and went with various friends passing by and I eventually went to bed feeling quite pleased with myself. It was shortly after I had retired that it became obvious something was not right. It was impossible for me to lay in bed in any position for more than a few moments before the most excrutiating pains hit me. I spent some time in the bathroom retching and then tried to sleep but could not. talk about feel the burn I was ready to call out the damn fire brigade, my stomach was on fire. It was about 9am when I finally managed to drift off only to wake a few hours later completely unable to move. I stayed there until 7am on the Monday morning.

Monday was a bit of a blur as all I could concentrate on was the pain in my stomach. By 9pm I had had enough and hit the painkillers and various bits and pieces out of my extensive medical cabinet. Washing these down with a Cider or two made all the pains go and by midnight I actually began to feel more like my old self, however I was now wide awake. I decided there and then that the Lean Mean Knobbing machine would have to wait and for now it would be Cute and Cuddly Knobbing machine! During this period of reflection I started watching a programme about finding Middle England.

We have all heard of Middle England, the tabloid press tell us everyday about Middle England and it’s Middle Englanders. Just the phrase Middle England has me thinking of some quiet sleepy little Hamlet in the shires with a postcard duck pond complete with obligatory ducks flapping about a couple of geese stopping over and maybe a swan or two swimmingly serenely by. Just by the duck pond is a well maintained bowling green where ladies and gentlemen can be seen dressed in immaculately creased whites and well blancoed plimsolls with nothing more than the “Clack” of woods gently cannoning into each other to disturb the peace. In the distance can be heard the sound of leather crashing off willow and the occasionaly shout of “four” and gentle applause from the cricket ground. Not to be outdone is the even more genteel sound of wooden balls being gently tapped by wooden mallets on the croquet lawn.

Sandwhiched in between “Ye Olde Tea Shoppe” and the “Food Emporium” is the very heart of Middle England, The Public House, invariably named after some king or animals head but always containing chaps quaffing pints of the landlords best foaming beer and ladies straight from the womens institute with their glasses of sherry or a Pimms no 1 cocktail. There is always a fleet of Morgans in the car park supplemented by the odd Bently or two and maybe the occasional vintage Roller. Nothing so common or tasteless as a Ferrari or BMW or one of those modern post 1962 Rollers which are so vulgar even pop stars and heaven fordid lottery winners buy them.

No, in Middle England you wont find a shell suit or a copy of the Daily Star, there are no stretch limo’s or the like with blacked out windows and definitely no Bargain Booze or Drugstore. Turns out this place which is predominantly Anglo Saxon does not actually exist other than in the minds of people who yearn for a distorted view of the past. It is of course a charade kept up by the press and government to pigeon whole a section of society and is predominantly used to characterise the middle classes. It is often used as a derogatory term for people who actually like to work for a living and abhore the shame of an asbo instead of wearing them like a badge of honour and sell crack on street corners. Its a pity really because it sounds like a really nice place to me. Something akin to Shangrila, you know its there you just dont know where but you hope to find it one day.

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