Monday, 23 September 2019

Days 22-25: Tucson AZ - Larrington Towers

Tucson to Phoenix is only about 120 miles but, mindful of occasions in the past when I've had to get through or round places like Denver and Chicago while chewing my fingernails as the time to hand the motor-car back to its owners of record crept closer I decided not to stray too far from the Righteous Path Friday morning.  First port of call was another Little Free Library to drop the second Travelling Book but on reaching the address quoted on the website there was no sign of their little glass-fronted box, nor anyone around to ask chiz.  So it's still in my rucksack and USAnians wishing to be introduced to Tom Sharpe will have to wait until next year.  Appypollyloggies to them, Will and Miss von Brandenburg.

To Saguaro National Park, then.  This has an east bit and a west bit and I went to the former many years ago.  So the west bit it is.  Over the mountain underneath which Tucson sits on its own little bit of Scorching Plain™ and down the other side.  On the next Scorching Plain™ is Old Tucson, which is not actually that old having been built as a movie set in 1939.

Old Tucson is somewhere in the middle, from the top of Grants Pass
Almost next door to it is the National Park which, as you might expect, contains many Saguaro cacti along with divers other desert plants and many birbs of prey circling the place on the lookout for collapsed tourists.

According to some Facebook gammon, this is Russell Brand.
No, I can't see the resemblance either.
Spindly thing in the middle is an ocotillo
This is probably a jojoba, unless it isn't
Having had my fill of desert succulents I headed north up I-10, which was busy and hot and traversed a Scorching Plain™ of little scenic merit.  In the not-too-distant future, Phoenix will absorb Casa Grande and then Tucson and then the traffic will be even more horrendous than it is already especially at the point where I-10 (to Los Angeles) and I-17 (to Flagstaff) diverge.  Or meet, iffen you're coming the other way natch.  The motorcar said it was 40C outside the car park just before I handed it over, but the interior of the terminal was bloody freezing so I handed over The Luggage to BA's minions and went and sat in a shady spot outside.  It is surprising how quickly one gets used to the heat - three weeks ago those kind of temperatures would have prostrated me in three minutes flat..  The NA keyrings dangling from one of the rucksack's many zips are a wonderful conversation starter, and so is leaving your JesusPhone on the bench and wandering off.  Sadly the owner came back just when me and t'other chap seated thereupon were planning to pawn it and split the proceeds1.

I was unable to get a snap of the Shiny Metal Birb, unlike a Several of my fellow Battle Mountaineers, as it was late showing up from That London and consequently dark outside.  Apart from the usual hazards of air travel such as the headrest falling off the seat when you try to adjust it and cabin crew pushing sharp-edged metal trolleys into your shin at R17, there was The Meal.

Now, airline food has improved immeasurably since, as Tiny Larringtons, Professor L and I used to venture a third of the way round the world on a semi-regular basis.  Indeed, the phrase or saying "diced lamb with baby carrots" is still something of a running gag forty-mumble years on.  The SEEKRIT police forces of particularly nasty dictatorships used to use airline food when more conventional interrogation methods - waterboarding, electricity, sharp pointy things ect ect - had failed.  But BRITISH Airways, or at least their caterer in Phoenix, appear to be reverting to old-skool dinners.

I opted for the "chicken curry".  Now, a defining feature of curry, at least to anyone from outside the sub-continent, is that the main ingredient, viz. the chicken, is combined with some sort of piquant sauce containing a blend of herbs and spices including, though not limited to, chili, turmeric, coriander, cumin, ect ect.  This, however, consisted of:
  • some small cubes of overcooked chicken
  • rice garnished with what appeared to be small flecks of soot
  • two (2) manky chunks of baby corn
  • one (1) spring of broccoli so wilted that even Chrissie Hynde2 could not warm to it
  • no (0) sauce
I ate it anyway, even the sad, sad broccoli, and then wished I hadn't.  All those Indian-Americans who turned up to cheer Messrs Modi and Trump the other day would be better employed in finding the people who thought this confection worthy of the name "curry", and killing them.  To DETH.

London was till where I'd left it and so was Fort Larrington and thus I was able to do my washing and lie around catching up with the Formula 1 Grands Prix wot I missed while in Abroad.  All I can say is:


and I am supremely unbothered as to whether the order in Singapore was The Boy Leclerc - Der Fingerflingenkind or vice-versa, since neither of them is going to be World Champion this year.  A Ferrari 1-2 is a Ferrari 1-2.  And Monday morning I was not-actually-that-rudely awakened by Professor Larrington and Dr Davis falling through the door after a twelve hour flight from Tokyo.  Then the M25 (close in the opposite direction at the Bell Common Tunnel because something requiring at least four fire engines), Mr Sainsbury's House of Toothy Comestibles and home.  Which was still upright, uninterfered-with by the Criminal Classes and still in possession of a closed front door.  It hasn't burned down either, although the electric socket under the desk in the Estate Office did emit some lovely sparks when I tried reinserting the plug in Braille.

Also, I can haz Hat:


It is sitting on the replacement front door of Larrington Towers which, obv, has not been fitted yet on account of it being Too Hot immediately before departing for FOREIGN parts.

Here endeth the 2019 anabasis3 coz tomorrow will only be shopping and framing this year's poster and fettling the new front door.  Does Thee Panel think I should attempt to cut a hole in it for a letterbox, or buy a box that screws to the wall outside?

1: Lie.
2: Other rampantly veggie rock stars are available.
3: Look it up.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Day 21: Truth Or Consequences NM - Tucson AZ

The coffee was ded gud, thank for asking.  And off again across MOAR Scorching Plains™, with only the San Augustin Pass east of Las Cruces for levity.

Another day, another Scorching Plain™
That, is, until you reach the Scorching Plain™ at its foot, turn left and run smack into White Sands National Monument.  Which, as the name suggests, is full of sand.  Which is white.  The reason for this whiteness is because it is gypsum, rather than the usual, well, sand, so you can walk on it quite comfortably in bare feet even when it's 30 degrees.  Which it was.



The local lizards, though, are white supremacists:


The National Monument is wedged into a corner of the White Sands Missile Range, which is more famous for being where The Man detonated the first The Bomb, but the Trinity Site is right up the other end near Socorro so the chance of my growing an extra head are pretty slim.  There appeared to be some Weather brewing over the next set of mountains to the east, so I made my excuses and left, in a westerly direction.  Got a few brief showers anyway but nothing to warrant roof-erection stops.

Distant weather forces Mr L to beat a hasty retreat
I also managed to not get stopped by the Border Patrol this time.  They have checkpoints on the main roads around Las Cruces, on account of Mexico being only a few miles to the south, and in 2014 I was subjected to a lengthy interrogation about my foopball affiliations from an agent who was a Wet Ham fan.  Today they just wished me a good day and allowed me to leave without even having to stick a gun up my nose.

From Las Cruces to the Arizona state line and beyond is MOAR Scorching1 Plains™ of the very dullest sort, although from I-10 Lordsburg NM does not look nearly as godforsaken as it does from the bit of it I drove through two years ago.  And there are a bazillion billboards for The Thing.


Almost, but not quite, enough to make me stop in Dragoon AZ and pay my $5 to find out more.  Thing Fans may find out more on Wikinaccurate.

And so to Tucson for a final night of not very much before the Shiny Metal Birb whisks me back to LHR.  The room has, however, one of these:

A tub, a tub!  My kingdom ect ect
from which the entire US Army Corps of Engineers will be required to extract me come bedtime.

1: Which really were Scorching today: 39 degrees in Tucson this arvo.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Day 20: Flagstaff NM - Truth Or Consequences NM

When I finally rolled into Flagstaff last night, Nice Girl Valentina informed me that I had been upgraded from the Missis-Kwin-bedded broom cupboard I had reserved to a King Suite.  Bigger bed!  Separate sitting/blogging area!  Two TVs (neither of which got switched on1)!  Two bathrooms!  I'd have preferred one big one with a proper-sized bath in it, but hey!  And then, the horror!  Breakfast is in a separate building and, and, IT DIDN'T HAVE WIFI!  What kind of an appalling low-rent dosshouse have I found myself in!  The "Arizona Sun" is a poor substitute for actual news, though to be fair they did devote a whole two column inches to Bloody Stupid Johnson's ongoing barney with the Supreme Court.

Anyway, where to go today?  Heads for California, tails for New Mexico.  Tails it is and I can add Truth Or Consequences to a list including Twatt (Orkney), Boring (Oregon), Twatt (Shetland) and Elephant Butte City (New Mexico).  Actually I haven't been to the last one yet but as it's just next door to Truth Or Consequences I will do so in the morning.  According to Wikinaccurate:
Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed its name to "Truth or Consequences", the title of a popular NBC Radio program. In March 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program on its 10th anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show; Hot Springs officially changed its name on March 31, 1950, and the program was broadcast from there the following evening.
The only other place named after a quiz show is Blankety-Blank, Wiltshire, though officially it's still called "Swindon".

First there was the small matter of Emily to attend to.  Close observation of her disgusting rebooting habit seems to show a wonkiness in her detection of being plugged into an external power source, in that she doesn't do it when running on her internal battery.  Because she is an elderly lady by consumer electronics standards2, however, her battery lasts an even shorter time than Bloody Stupid Johnson's Commons majority, so I can't just use her on battery power and recharge overnight.

Now it seems that Wolmart do not, when they say "In stock", mean that an item is sitting on the shelf of the local branch waiting to be seized, dragged off to the tills and duly purchased, no.  But you can do a "Click & Collect" thing.  Excellent.  I shall do that.

Oh.  What manner of swivel-eyed loon programmed your Webby SCIENCE, Mr Wol?  How very dare you insist I pay with a credit card with a USAnian billing address?  Get directly tae fuck, you blithering xenophobes.  Time for Plan B:
  • program final destination into Emily's tiny, damaged brain
  • write route summary on piece of paper
  • use Emily to find on-ramp for I-40
  • get held up at level crossing by mile-and-a-half-long four-loco BNSF freight train of double-stacked containers carrying USAnia's trade deficit withe the Fiendish Godless Hordes™ of Beijing
  • switch her off and don't switch her back on until Exit 79 of I-25
  • Miss the turn onto US-160 in Holbrook
That last one was unintentional, by the way.  Mr Google suggested going to Holbrook and then across country to Socorro, while Emily wanted I-40 to Albuquerque, then I-25 south to here.  Mr Google won.  Not that it made much difference, as most of either route was across the Scorching Plains™ of both Arizona and New Mexico.  But Mr Google's route allowed a scenic detour off US-60 at Eagar and up into the mountains for a brief, but pleasant interlude.

Nelson Reservoir: a nice spot for a picnic
Although New Mexico is known for its Scorching Plains™ it's got some nice mountains too, which are home to the advance party of our new reptilian overlords:

New Mexico: not all Scorching Plains™

I for one welcome ect ect
NB: Reptilian overlord is about the length of my little finger
The detour got me back on US-60 just west of the VLA - the Very Large Array of radio telescopes.  They have moved some of them across the road since the last time I came up here, onna railway line.  Unfortunately, some rufty-tufty hairy-arsed workmen were Doing Things to said railway line, which meant the lay-by, telescopes for the viewing off, was closed.  And there was a huge drop-off at the side of the road to go round the RTHA workmen, which I suspect was the cause of Mr Motorhome's woes.

Many motorhomists over here will tow a shopping/sightseeing vehicle behind their camper-bus and some folks - like Mr Motorhome - use a trailer-like device to lift the car's driven wheels off the deck.  I seem to recall that some automatic gearboxes don't like being towed, even in neutral.  Anyway, Mr Motorhome's "Kar Kaddy" (sic) had shed its right-side wheel and Mr Motorhome was disconsolately surveying the damage in a lay-by a couple of miles down the road.  This was probably the most exciting thing that happened all day, unless it was tickling a spaniel's ears at a rest area near Winslow.

Truth Or Consequences doesn't appear on many of the distance signs on I-25, because it won't fit, so you get useless mileages to pissant burgs like Las Cruces or El Paso instead.  Bah.  Anyway, I'm here, you're not, and the manager of the Desert View Inn is from Eastbourne.  Trufax.  And he's just popped round with a mug, a spoon and a small Zip-Loc™ bag of proper ground coffee for the morning.  This Unit hereby endorses this establishment.  I wonder if he still drinks Proper Tea as I have a surfeit of Yorkshire Tea in The Luggage this year.

There are not many pictures today, because Scorching Plains™ are not very photogenic compared with the rocks of divers National Parks.  Here is a Scorching Plain™ to prove my point:

Scorching Plain™, Mew Mexico, Wednesday
  1. Just like the haunted fish tanks in every other caravanserai on every trip since 2010, when I actually managed to watch a season finale of "CSI: Miami", and then got confused when I watched it again at home six months later, because I thought they were recycling the plot device of Calleigh blowing up the lab and ["Shut up!" - Ed]
  2. 8 years

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Day 19: Page AZ - Flagstaff AZ

Ahoy!  Yesterday's Diary has been updated with some words and thing.  Read it.

The last time I was in Page, in 2014, it was full of Germans.  This time it's full of Japanese.  As was Horseshoe Bend.  Many of the said Japanese were wearing the kind of facemasks you see on the Tokyo underground, where they might conceivable be pointful.  In the Arizona desert a couple of hundred miles away from the nearest motorway?  Hmm.  Actually, their use could have been down to the presence of the chap who, from his mode of apparel I took to be a tour guide and who, while walking down to the Horseshoe Bend overlook, emitted a cheery series of trouser coughs that sounded like a fridge door opening.  I'm just worried that the Italians walking astern thought it was me...

I've worked out why I ate'nt been to Horseshoe Bend before, namely that it's off US-89 just south of Page and in 2014 part of US-89 south of Page was closed because Landslide so through traffic got routed down another road across the reservation.  When you get there they relieve you of ten dollars and make you walk up and over a hillock, mostly on foul soft sand.  They are doing a bunch of improvements, y'see, and all will be better when they're finished in April 2019.  Oh, wait...

When you finally get to the overlook, you'll find one of these:



No, dolts, not the Japanese tourist, the gert big rock with the Mighty Colorado flowing round it.  Yes, I suppose it's alright, but Goosenecks State Park has MOAR twisty-turny river and you can drive almost up to the edge and they only charge you five bucks to get in.  And the ticket-selling lady at Goosenecks was far more cheerful too.

South down US-89 and turn right onto the imaginatively-named US-89A.  I suspect that this was the original US-89 and only acquired its "A" after the Glen Canyon Dam bridge was opened in 1959.  This drops downhill to cross the Mighty Colorado at Navajo Bridge, climbs gently across the not-quite-flat plateau wet of the river and then shoots skywards up to Jacob Lake.  If you then turn south you can follow the road for a bit over forty miles, but then it stops on the edge of a big hole in the ground commonly know as the "Grand Canyon".  This is the North Rim, which is far less touristy than the other side, wot is about 25 miles away as the raven flies but well over 200 by road.  I came here in 2003 too and don't remember it being as busy as it was today, but then again, Battle Mountain was held in October in them days.

Anyway, you can wander about the vicinity of the Visitor Centre and gawp at the landscape, or head off on a side road to divers viewpoints, from some of which the Mighty Colorado is actually visible a vertical mile below, or you can have your car refuelled by Mick, who used to live in Thetford, because US Air Force.


Near the Visitor Center
The North Rim's geography has a lovely baroque feel to it, in contrast with the sheer cliffs on the other side.  This is because the north side is a Several of hundred metres higher and consequently gets more than twice as much SNO which, when it melts, flows down into the canyon and erodes it.  On the other side the land actually slopes down to the south of the canyon too, so the snowmelt heads off in completely the wrong direction.  We aim to edumacate.


Rapids on the Mighty Colorado
Pick the right spot and you can see the Mighty Colorado through the Angels' Window.
How cool is that, eh?
View from Point Imperial, the highest point on either rim
Lots more photos on the Flickr wossname.  Return to Jacob Lake, return to US-89 and turn right.  My recollection of the stretch into Flagstaff is that it was also rather dull, so thank heavens for the nighttime being dark.  It's also a lot busier than the stretch between Kanab and Page.

Tomorrow will likely not contain much in the way of excitement so to tide you over, here are some Vermilion Cliffs:



Monday, 16 September 2019

Day 18: Cedar City UT - Page AZ

OK, this could be another late one, coz I took a metric fuckton of photos in Bryce and Kolob Canyons today and I didn't get to Page until after 9 pm and Dog knows how long they'll take to upload.  Anyway, you run out of adjectives after 15 minutes in Bryce so just look at the pictures instead, eh?  They'll be over here: clicky.  And remember what I said about screen sizes, eh?  Even a Jesus Phone is too small.

Edit: the pictures have now uploaded but it's past midnight so the words will have to wait.  Emily would have been pensioned off if Wolmart in Cedar City had had the TwatNav I had my eye on actually in stock.  $96 and I think the same one costs over two hundred quid back home, which is probably a metaphor for Brexit.


Edit 2:  Ok, you fussy buggers, some words to go with it.  The quickest way to Bryce Canyon involves blatting north up I-15 at 85 mph, turning east over a gert big set of mountains and then turning south again down US-89.  I would call this a Big Fat Lie if it were not for the roadworks up Cedar Canyon which, I assume, are still there.  I've passed by the front door of Bryce quite a few times over the years but only went in once, in 2003.  And promptly got some grit in my eye which played havoc with my contact lens and made the whole visit rather grim.  Anyway, there are no longer contact lenses in my face, I haz a better camera, and, well, Bryce Canyon.  After a few minutes you run out of adjectives.

Yovimpa Point
Black Birch Canyon
Nevermore!
Agua Canyon
Natural Bridge
Bryce Point
Small but perfectly formed snek, Paria View
Fairyland Canyon
Lots more on Flickr.  Having spent rather longer dicking around in Bryce than I had intended, 'twas heigh-ho for Kolob Canyon, which is actually part of Zion NP but not connected to the main bit wot I visited the other week.  The quickest route from Bryce involves heading north up US-89, turning west over a gert big set of mountains and then blatting south down I-15 at 85 mph.  This takes you right through Cedar City where, as noted above, Wolmart had no TwatNavs.

Kolob Canyon is a five mile dead-end drive, and contains plants and birds and rocks and things, and sand and hills and rings ["Are you sure about that last one?" - Ed.]

Hanging valley off Kolob Canyon
Not actually an actual dog
There is more Kolob-Stuffs a bit further on, off the road through the main bit of Zion NP, viz. Kolob Terrace Road.  This snakes off into the hills for about twenty miles; some of it is in the National Park, some isn't and - improbably - people live right at the far end and probably further than that coz I didn't go all the way up to the end of the reservoir.

Somewhere up Kolob Terrace Road
Gathering dusk at Kolob Reservoir
Emily, temporarily behaving herself, decided that the quickest way from Kolob Reservoir to Page was to head in totally the opposite direction and head across the Arizona Strip.  As this was Clearly Wrong, I went through Zion Natiopnal Park.  For the third time this trip.  It's rather triff in the dark with huge mountains just about visible overhead.  Also good in the dark is the unequivocally drear section of US-89 from Kanab to Page.  At least with the lights off you can't see how dull it is.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Day 17: Battle Mountain NV - Cedar City UT

Packing done, goodbyes said and motor-car's tyres aired-up.  Not only does the Maverik "gas" station change $1.25 for what Mr Sainsbury's House of Toothy Comestibles gives away free, gratis and for nothing, the gauge on their air-line under-reads about about 6 psi,  The bastards.

I intended to put the roof down at the rest area jsut before the climb of Emigrant Pass on I-80, but it was closed.  The bastards.  Though at least the double roadworks on US-50 west of Ely weren't operating today, and there was an immaculate de Tomaso Pantera on Ely's Main Street.

Apart from the above, today was a carbon copy of last Friday's leg of the trip, except that I took a photo.  Just the one.

Wheeler Peak
Wheeler Peak, as I may have noted before but CBA to check, is the highest mountain in Nevada if you are a geography nerd.  More Scenery tomorrow, Scenery fans!

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Day 16: Battle Mountain NV

Wind bad early this morning and few legal runs were made.  Flatlanders often liken wind to hills:


This Unit hereby endorses Denise's product, service or sentiment
Things improved later on though, and it is pleasing to report Mike Mowett finally crack 60 mph in VeloX S and Adam Hari N-1 hit 55.


Adam en route to a 55 mph Hat.
Josh Gieschen made the most of his by locking Ambition's rear wheel coming into catch and flipping the bike a Several of times before - improbably - being caught with it back in the vertical position by the assembled Cal Poly Oaves.  The word "sick" was bandied about; I believe this is a term of approval when used by the Young People.  Not the BRITISH ones, obv.


Josh at the end of Ambition's wild ride
Although the speed record for a production velomobile is unofficial, at least for the moment,  it is pleasing to report that Wild Bill Thornton made a wind-legal 60+ mph pass in his Milan to wrestle the crown back from Todd in Peter's DF.


Note ease with which velomobiles stop in comparison with some of these new-fangled
camera trikes that get halfway to the road block before managing to stop (see below)
After burning such quantities of midnight oil that fresh supplies had to be 
shipped down from Canada in an unmarked tanker, the LSBU team have confected a working RWD machine with conventional steering from a hub-centre-steered FWD one.  Russell Bridge ran it down the short course at 44.38 mph.


Literal flying start for Russ
More bodywork was added to Haruka 2019, which Kazuhiro Takei then crashed shortly after his 34.75 mph run.  He was briefly unconscious afterwards but it was thought more likely from fainting rather than hitting his head.  Nevertheless, the ambulance was called in, followed shortly by another one and a representative from the Sheriff's Department, who I think was just curious.  I've not heard any further news on Kaz' condition, but will endeavour to find out.


Improvised extra bodywork being attached to Haruka 2019
At the morning debrief meeting it is the custom for the riders to pick their favoured heats for the evening (and the following morning if there is one).  Given that this was to be the final session of the event, Russ' qualifying speed was not high enough for him to get one of the twelve available slots.  Until Guillaume de France graciously offered his to the AIM93 gang in recognition of their astonishing motel car park fettling performance.  Eventually it was agreed to offer "on-deck" positions to Russ, Ken and Yasmin as the Liverpool team have also had more than their fair share of percussive maintenance to perform.  In marked contrast to Cal Poly, who confessed (admittedly before Josh's spectacular aerobatic display) that Ambition had only come out of the van to run on 305.

Group photos and arrest of various wrong 'uns by the Sarge then ensued.  Just look at the state of that!

Evan, Calvin, Yasmin, Ilona, Denise and Fabien
Before the Black Helicopters came and hauled them off to Area 51, obv
There are Wols on the roof of the Civic Center!  Who knew?
Wol!  Wol!
Follow the track from the catch parking area and you will come to a somewhat muddy pond:


This is so like an album cover that if Sel Balamir,1 is reading this, I'm open to offers.

Watz Kirkwood refusing to hand the stick back to Arnold Ligtvoet (L)
The sun may never set on the BRITISH Empire, but it probably should on Mike Head's shorts...
Saturday evening's actual racing was a blow-out.  Many people chose not to run at all because of the foul wind, and some of those who did go probably regretted it.  Notably Jennifer, who crashed VeloX 9 with just over a mile to go.  With Rosa due to run the bike in the next heat, the HPT team U-Haul was sent down the road post-haste to collect the bike.  With so much haste, in fact, that not only was the rear roller door of the van still open, but there was a Hapless Student Oaf still inside.

Ken also pulled up on the course with the main screen dying on him.  Yasmin's record notwithstanding, it was probably a year to forget for the Liverpooligans, especially after last year's triumphs.  Yasmin was the only rider tonight to cop a wind-legal run - the very last of the event - and celebrated by blowing through catch and most of the way to the road block before the frantically sprinting Oaves managed to arrest her progress.  Someone who had better remain cloaked in tactful anonymity posited2 the notion that she merely wanted to be first in the queue at the awards bash bar.

Peter Borenstadt approves of Yasmin's queue-beating performance
And that, save for the awards dinner, was that.  The dinner was far too loud, far too long and had far too many unwanted appearances from the rainbow-striped unicorn horn strapped to the top of Bas de Meijer's baseball hat.  This last is undoubtedly a metaphor for Brexit, but then so is everything these days.  The main difference this year was that for the first time in many a long year we were entertained by the junior division of the local Basque folk dancing crew, and anyone quoting Sir Thomas Beecham's thoughts on the matter3 can get tae fuck.  Though to make the entertainment a bit heavier, we also had a surprise visit from Slash.  No, the one out of Guns N' Roses.

Bring drugs.  Lots of drugs.
Natch Sergeant Arthur Aten was on hand to dish out traffic tickets to the assorted speeders, slowcoaches and general hoons from the week's proceedings:

The Criminal Classes
Hatses were dished out to the Worthy of the Parish:

Milliners' Nightmares
Back row L-R: Ilona Peltier (75), Rosa Bas (75), Evan Bennewies (70), Josh Gieschen (60), Mike Mowett (60), Helge Hermann (55), Ivan Gundersen (5x55 on behalf of the Sprocket Rocketmen), Wild Bill Thornton (60)
Front row L-R: Fabien Canal (80), Vittoria Spada (75), Guillaume de France (70), Denise Koronek (70), Adam Hari (55), Ben Whybrew (50)

There should also have been the handover of 2D Thomas from Mikey Sova to another person of travelling mien, but some clods have actually contrived to lose our flat friend!  The bastards!  The replica still lives, but he's on top of the shelves above the anbaric distascope back at Larrington Towers.

Anyway, some fast people:

Vittoria, Ilona and Rosa
Andrea, Fabien and Guillaume
I do not know what happened after that as I went back to the Super 8 for a nice cup of tea and a sit lie down, though some kind soul found a cheque for three hundred dollars in the street and handed it in to the relevant authorities at the Wol Club.  While the prize cheques have no names on them this one indicated that it was (formerly) the property of the winner of the Women's Multi-Track class (number of competitors: 1).  Though the Liverpool team have form for losing items on the mean streets of Battle Mountain, up to and including entire team members...

1: Frontman of the mighty Amplifier4, that's who.
2: Also, I can't remember who it was anyway.
3: Look it up like I had to, you idlers.
4: Currently the best band in the world. Trufax.