Monday, 19 February 2018

The magic of the mountains

The magic of the mountains

Anyone who has had the misfortune to observe Fantasy Bob's stumbling efforts at the crease will have an understanding of his propensity for self-inflicted wounds. His propensity to swing late, early or all round a straight one - sometimes he manages all three skills at the same time - is verging on the legendary. Commentators have frequently discussed whether this is symptomatic of some deep psychological condition.  Freudian psychologists watching from the boundary have cited FB's experience as conclusive evidence of the existence of thanatos - the death drive, whose opposition to the pleasure principle Sigmund Freud contended to be a fundamental psychological dynamic. Others have simply attributed FB's condition to basic incompetence.

What should they then make of recent evidence as FB prepared for his annual pilgrimage to the ski slopes of the Austria Alps?  For the run up to his trip was littered with self-inflicted injury.

The mandoline is a fearsome piece of kitchen equipment. As FB enthusiastically brandished it in one hand and a carrot in the other, what could possibly go wrong?  Lots, it would seem, as with exceptional culinary skill he deftly sliced the top off his spinning finger.  Not that he has ever spun anything with it, as Mrs FB helpfully pointed out, while she battled to stem the ensuing torrents of blood and bad language - not necessarily in that order. 

The mandoline  - check the soup for finger tips
The next day, his finger bandaged in full compliance with Girl Guide First Aider badge standards, FB took himself to the gym. He thought he might pep his legs up to prepare them for his coming assaults on the black runs. Why he thought it might be best to do this with a grueling session on the leg extension machine is beyond anyone's guess. It may well have done wonders for FB's legs, but it left his back in a state comparable to England's recent Ashes batting. Wrecked.

Hobbling slowly homewards he diverted to the doctor's clinic; not to have his ravaged back attended to but to receive inoculation against pneumonia. Pneumonia may have been frightened off but at the cost of rendering his arm completely and painfully immobile.

So, FB was even more of a physical wreck than usual as the day of departure approached. Mrs FB is not noted for her Freudian approach to psychology. She suggested that his recent track record meant that even getting out of bed should be classed an hazardous activity. She cruelly drew attention to FB's minimal level of technical competence in the skiing department, and asked, somewhat rhetorically, whether, bearing in mind these factors, his intention to throw himself down mountain sides might not indicate that there was a death drive somewhere in the works.

FB said he would check the insurance.   'An extra premium on the life insurance might be an idea.' suggested Mrs FB with a tad less sympathy than FB might have expected.  He declined to answer, he was reviewing the finer print of his travel insurance to see if it would compensate him should he need to cancel his trip. The policy made it clear that stupidity was not an insurable risk. Nor was there any indication that the operation of thanatos, conscious or unconscious, was underwritten.

There was nothing for it.   FB would have to adopt that legendary stoical frame of mind nurtured over many long bowling spells up the hill against the wind.

He needn't have worried. The magic of the snow capped mountains erased any lingering pain and he avoided any mishap on the slopes.

On his return, Mrs FB asked whether he had learned anything from this catalogue of ineptitude. Learning from experience is not one of FB's key skills, so it took him some time to respond. Eventually however he came to the answer - the next time he slices carrots it would be sensible to wear his batting gloves.


  1. Glad to hear that FB's time in the Alps was well spent and hopefully he will have recovered from his various injuries in good time for the start of the Scottish cricket season, or late winter as we prefer to call it. Meanwhile I have been enjoying the exploits of his namesake Skeleton Bob at the Winter Olympics.