The Plastic Hippo

June 3, 2012

Tales of the riverbank

Filed under: History,Media,Society — theplastichippo @ 9:15 pm

The irony of being laid low by a Vietnamese River Cobbler is not lost on your humble correspondent, but this particular Basa Catfish proved to be vindictive as well as off. Recovery took two days having had to take to a sick bed.

Pan fried Basa in ginger and lemon grass sauce is delicious and considered a treat in the hippo kitchen but is not to everyone`s taste. The rest of the family had the usual Haddock in parsley sauce. The revenge of Uncle Ho started about four hours later with sweating, shivering and a tightening of the throat. By midnight, guts were tied in knots and the only recourse was to lie flat and avoid movement. To be fair to the people, government and fishermen of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, this particular fish did not originate from the Mekong Delta but from the fresh seafood counter at a Walsall supermarket.

The first 24 hours were the worst. Turning to reach for the bottle of water to ease a tight throat caused a growing realisation that the lower intestine might be capable of invading the bedroom. The sweating and shivering intensified and moments of sleep were filled with dreams of train derailments, aeroplanes crashing and images of hideous demons. By morning, a slow walk to the bathroom was all that could be managed followed by a swift return to bed and the tender, loving care of a concerned family. Saturday was spent sleeping in five minute bursts and then half an hour of trying not to move. Although having no personal experience of heroin addition, the imagined sound track was Cold Turkey by John Lennon.

Sunday morning saw some improvement. The sweating and trembling had subsided and an appetite for something other than water returned. Daring to descend, a thin broth made from a beef stock cube tasted superb. Forced onto a sofa and beneath a duvet by a suddenly matronly other half, lunch was chicken soup and radio four. Health was returning and recovery palpable until a daughter asked if she could watch television.

It seems fair to say that Sunday was not a good day for the BBC. There are many things that the Beeb do very well. Drama obviously, music, sport and especially outside broadcasts have set global standards, but the coverage of the Jubilee 1000 boat pageant was woeful even before the heavens opened. To be fair to the people, governance and fishermen of the BBC, very large OBs are not easy to do but even with all their experience, did they not consider that placing a large number of radio mics on lots of boat might not end in tears?

Technical difficulties aside, it was not the rain that spoilt the coverage. It was the bloody awful presenters. Right from the very beginning, the sycophantic fawning set an embarrassing agenda that produced more occasions of reaching for the sick bucket than the effects of a Vietnamese Catfish. Magnificent, marvellous, joyous, treasure, beautiful, superb were the words used over and over again by the dimwits who had managed to secure a working microphone. One spoke of a truly democratic occasion and another gushed about style icons. That fact remains that a very rich little old lady was asked to stand in the cold and rain to watch a thousand boats go by. She is not the Holy Mary Mother of God.

Setting aside the cost of Kate Middleton`s dress, the coal barge with what looked like an Indian restaurant with added bling plonked on top and the required security, there is no denying that the loyal subjects who lined the banks and the bridges experienced joy. No mention from the BBC, though, of savage cuts to the Royal Navy, the Coastguard, schools, hospitals or even the BBC. Look, a big expensive barge, everything going to be okay.

With more of this bilge to come from broadcasters, it might be worth investing in further Vietnamese River Cobblers.


1 Comment »

  1. Sorry to hear of your gastric troubles, but by listening to Radio 4, you at least missed the truly stomach churning event that was the Cameron/Marr interview.

    River cobblers is a perfectly good description of the Thames pageant, but I prefer fresh water flounder – so much more British and somehow much fresher. It was also, of course, witnessed by a number of old trouts and roaches, which seemed appropriate for the occasion.

    The Realist

    Comment by The Realist — June 5, 2012 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

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