Saturday, 18 August 2007

Colonel Blimp and the Burnham Jogger

We are about to embark upon a string a non sequiturs. Fear not. It will all come together in the end.

Item. You may not know Colonel Blimp, the eternally annoyed, jingoistic creation of the cartoonist David Low. But do check the link, so you know what the Colonel looks like. There is also a marvelous old Powell/Pressburger film about him. Highly recommended: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.

Item. Do you know that your local newspaper is always desperate for stories? Desperate! They'll print anything. Call them up and tell them your dog ate scrambled eggs for breakfast. They'll print it. They aren't disposed to wait for Man Bites Dog. Dog Bites Egg is just fine. Fill that space!

In fact, I didn't telephone, but Maidenhead is a small town and the Maidenhead Advertiser found out about me. An American in England. (Yawn.) A woman. (Oh, yeah?) And a manager. (Got me. That was unusual in England in the early 80s.) The Advertiser sent a reporter to my office/house to interview me. She started with my age. Newspapers always have to know how old you are. They have this in common with race directors.

The reporter brought a photographer. But a woman sitting at her desk in a linen suit is bor-or-ring. Would I mind changing into my running clothes and we'll go to the tow path and photograph you there?

What the hell. I change clothes and we go down to the Thames and I sit on a rock. The photographer photographs. I sit elsewhere. The photographer photographs. We go for an action shot. The photographer photographs. I pose in front of the houses of the rich and famous. The photographer photographs.

You're waiting for the photograph, aren't you? Sorry. I don't know where the newspaper article is. But after it appeared in the paper, the reporter telephoned me to ask if I would like a few of the photographs that didn't appear. There were some wonderful ones," she said. "Much better than the one we printed, but we couldn't use them. Still, I thought you might like see."

And she was right. I went to collect the pictures. It was worth taking up running. Here I am: Burnham Jogger with Colonel Blimp.


  1. hehehe. You're right, it all came together beautifully at the end. Sorry to have doubted you.

  2. "Gad, Sir! I daresay she'll be running the company next!"