Stunned in the Desert

Your scribe will, I trust, not be without sympathy from the reader as he sits here, crack-ribbed and somewhat despondent. It is fortunate at least that, as a man of a certain age who lives alone, I am not without experience of one-handed typing.

This morning dawned bright and clear. The sky was pale blue, but the roofs of the bungalows in front of my house were white with frost - an excellent day for a unicycle ride, and yet, had I known what misfortune lay ahead, perhaps I would have retired to my armchair with a stiff whisky and a Laurel & Hardy DVD.

I arrive at the Forest Pines car park to find no sponsored rides, mountainbike races or car rallies in progress. Instead, there are large and gaudy signs advertising a Christmas tree sale. Given that it is mid November, this ought to be one of the deliberate mistakes, but unformtunately, it is true.

It’s still bitterly cold, and I do a few stretches and some half hearted warm up movements before mounting the KH24. I ride out of the car park, past the Go Ape! adventure course and soon I am on a long easy trail through pine forest. Within a couple of hundred metres, I meet an elderly man walking his dog. He greets me with a cheery “Hello!” then comments as I ride past, “That’s unusual.” Maybe for him; not for me.

At the first opportunity, I turn left, and start to climb an easy path, my tyre almost silent on the carpet of pine needles. Then I turn right and ride through broad leafed woodland, losing height until I meet one of the hard-surfaced main tracks. I go straight across, wallowing a little in a patch of soft sand, then climb up a rough sand and gravel path, gaining height fairly rapidly. I hear mountainbikers on the easy trail behind me, and one of them shouts a comment about me to his companions.

Just past the top of the hill, I find the pond - I have no idea whether it is natural or not, but the pond is about the size of a swimming pool, and has no obvious feeder stream. It is well established, with reeds and rushes, and a path that goes all the way round it. I ride round the back of it, looking for a way into the forest, and find one, and set off down a gentle slope through woodland. The sun is bright, and the air is clear, so that the tree trunks are quite harshly lit on one side, and very dark on the other, with clear sharp shadows. The leaves that are still on the trees are gentle yellow; the ones on the ground are richer shades of orange and gold. It’s a beautiful place to be.

Half a mile later, I find an unexpected feature: a clearing, with quite a steep slope down to a broad path below. The grass in the clearing is long, tussocky and wet. The ground is bumpy, and the long grass makes it difficult to read. I swoop down the hill, at some moments too confidently, at others, wrestling to regain control of the uni. I make it to the bottom with a “Whoop!” of success, and start to plod my way through the wet grass towards the main path.

Suddenly, the wheel finds a concealed obstacle. I react too late and UPD. At first I think I can run out of it, then I decide to roll. It all goes horribly wrong. I fall on my left side, the back of my hand towards the ground, the palm towards my chest. The hard plastic palm of the wrist guard hits the buckle of my Camelbak, and as I hit the ground, the buckle is driven into my rib with the full force of my fall. I am stunned and winded, and lie on my side panting like a wounded doe for 30 seconds or more before I realise that the wet is soaking through my shirt. I clamber to my feet, wincing at the pain in my rib.

A minute or two later, I remount and carry on my way, taking easy trails through mixed woodland, struggling a little to regain my rhythm. It was a silly UPD, at low speed on a soft surface, but it has entered the charts at about number 5 - which considering this is my 19th year of unicycling, and I’ve been in Accident & Emergency twice as a result of unicycling, is pretty bad.

A mile or so later, I find a familiar junction, and make the effort to turn the opposite way to usual. That takes me along an easy undulating path for a few minutes until I pop out onto a wider forest road. As I consider my options, my wheel finds the only large loose stone for 10 seconds’ ride in any direction. The stone is triangular in section, so it won’t roll. It slides for an instant, then stops. I UPD, the shock of my foot hitting the ground is transmitted up to my bruised rib.

I walk through a gate, then remount and follow an easy ballast path up the hill, approaching one of the highest points in this area of forest. Near to the top, things have changed. It appears that forestry lorries have carved away at the verge on the outside of a right hand bend. My plan is to turn left onto a narrow path at a junction on the very crown of the bend. The ramp up is far steeper than I remember it, and I toy with the idea of carrying on round the bend. I decide to go for it, and impress myself when I make it up the little ramp very easily.

But now, a problem: this is beech forest, and there is a uniformly thick layer of autumn leaves. The path is seldom used, and the fallen leaves are undisturbed. There are no clues as to the direction the path takes, and I have to improvise, zigzagging between tree trunks until my wheel sinks through the dry leaves into deep mud and I UPD. I stop to get my breath back, and admire the way the sunlight filters through the trees onto the golden forest floor. Some people see the beauty; others see dead leaves, the end of summer, and the approaching winter.

The next path is a difficult one. It is dead straight for a mile or more, sometimes descending, sometimes climbing fairly steeply. In places it is firm, in others there is deep gloopy mud. Parts are smooth, and others are rutted. Unfortunately, from a unicyclist’s point of view, it is almost completely concealed by a deep bed of dried oak, beech and chestut leaves. Every 100 metres or so, the wheel discovers a hitherto unsuspected obstacle - sometimes a log, or a deep pool of mud, sometimes a wheel rut, and sometimes near to the edge of the trail, the gaping mouths of animal burrows - mainly rabbit and squirrel. I UPD more times than I can remember, my language becomes informal, and any passers by could be forgiven for thinking that there was a loyal and vocal group of cyclists from the Cotswold village of Bucking Farstead somewhere in the forest. Possibly even members of the Bucking Farstead Hunt.

Finally, I make it to the top of the next hill. From here, it is a fairly easy descent, with caution, with the only obstacles being patches of loose sand and gravel, and occasional tree roots. At the bottom, I dismount and clamber over a bank, a ditch and a bank to get to the track that leads to The Desert. After a short walk, I climb over the obstacles placed to keep people out of The Desert, then mount and ride under the graffiti-decorated railway bridge and out onto the rough area next to the Black Lagoon.

Long-standing readers of my wride ups will perhaps recall the Black Lagoon: a disgusting oily pond with burned out cars and rusted chemical drums in it, and surrounded by dried quicksand, with the dead branches of willows and the charred skeletons of cars and scooters protruding, frozen in a tormented dance of the damned. It is an evil place.

Well, it was evil, anyway, but now The Authorities have filled it in with sand. It will win no prizes for beauty, but appears marginally less evil. Anne Robinson after her platic surgery springs to mind.

I ride past The Sandpit Formerly Known as the Black Lagoon, then scramble over deep gravel and wheel ruts towards The Desert. In doing so, I do some of the most technically demanding riding of the day so far. Much has changed since my last visit. The wheel ruts are deeper. there is severe erosion from flooding. Parts of the road have completely collapsed, with crevasses opening up to hollow chambers a metre or more down. This is no exaggeration. It’s as if there had been an underground stream following the course of the track and the track had fallen away during heavy rain. Weird.

A few metres later, I am on an easier track. The Desert is to my left. I can hear the frantic chainsaw rasp of 2 stroke trail bikes. Normally there would be cars and vans parked all along here, but there is only one big 4 wheel drive car. Two men are standing by it, and they grin and make daft but friendly comments for me to overhear as I ride past. To my left is an artificial earth bank about 2 metres high designed to keep the off roaders off The Desert. I am scanning this bank looking for a gap, and I see a tiny little quad approaching. It has two young children on it,and I hear one of them shout out in wonderment as he sees me ride past.

At last I find a gap: there is a short and easy climb over the bank, and a gradual drop down onto the sand of The Desert.

The Desert may need some explaining for newer readers. This is near Mansfield in mid-north Notts, which was coal mining territory until about the mid 1980s. In the background of The Desert is a massive ugly black spoil tip. The Desert itself appears to be related to a sand and gravel quarry. The main area is undulating sand, probably a kilometre in each direction. On the far side is a deep pit where I think the sand is still extracted, or was until recently. At weekends, the whole area is used unofficially by dozens of 4 wheel drive cars, trail bikes, quads and, er… about one unicyclist.

So, onto The Desert, where the sand is just right: it is damp but not too wet. Where the land Rovers have left tyre tracks, it is packed hard and easily bears the weight of the unicycle. On a bad day, the sand is either too dry to ride on, or so wet that I sink in it. Today is a good day, and I am making easy progress, whilst conscious that I am impressing some of the trail bikers who are racing past me.

To my left, I see a big 4 wheel drive car, stuck half way over the hump that separates the access road from The Desert. It is the one that I passed earlier, with the two young chaps who made friendly comments. I see that the two lads are standing on the rear bumper, jumping to rock the vehicle as a third sits at the controls and spins the wheels wildly. The car is completely beached, rocking on its chassis, with the wheels dangling and barely making contact with the ground.

I stop to offer assistance. We find bits of rope, patches of old carpet, some broken pieces of abandoned vehicles, and try to build up the ground under the wheels to aid traction. The driver revs the engine. The wheels spin until the tyres smoke. I keep to one side, not wanting to be crushed if the vehicle tips back. The two lads are less cautious and are simply pushing on the back bumper. I am rewarded for my caution with a mouth full of grit as the tyre bites momentarily and sends up a shower of sand and gravel.

A few minutes of this results in the vehicle finally clawing its way forward enough to make traction, and it scrapes over the hump. Just as it it goes, I see that it has collected a large rock with its chassis and is dragging it forward. I shout. The vehicle stops. One of the lads removes the rock.

Moments too late, a Land Rover turns up. The driver offers assistance. “It’s all right thanks. This bloke on the unicycle has helped us to sort it out!”

There are smiles all round. As I am about to remount, I say, “Four wheels looks way to complicated. It’s difficult enough on one.” I ride away across The Desert in classic “Who was that masked man?” style, with friendly laughter and amazed comments following me. I am relieved that I make it over some difficult bits of soft sand and some impressive little bumps and hollows and it is a good couple of minutes before my first UPD.

Ask anyone you meet in the street and they will tell you that riding a unicycle on sand is hard work. Listen to them. They are exactly correct in every detail. It is physically and mentally exhausting. The wheel slips sideways at the slightest provocation. Every little uphill is an opportunity for it to lose traction. Every little downhill is a chance for it to slip away from beneath you. All you can do is stand on the pedals and pick your way along step by breathless step. Add a badly bruised rib to the mixture and it is even worse - I am still suffering from my fall right back near the beginning of the ride.

A couple of UPDs later, I am almost at the bottom of a sand, earth and gravel bank that is too steep to ride up. I push and carry to the top then stop to recover my breath. I am now starting to regret that I brought no food with me. I have only the cold water in my Camelbak. I decide to take a long rest, admire the view (the beautiful spoil tips on the horizon…) and ring Ruth. I sit on the ground, my phone to my ear, the unicycle unceremoniously dumped to the side of me. A 4 wheel drive pulls up behind me, the driver checking if I am hurt, which is kind of him. I wave him on with a rare smile.

Back in the saddle, I plod up a long gradual slope of mud, sand and puddles until I reach the highest point. there are two motorcyclists there, and one points me out to the other. Perhaps his friend is eceptionally unobservant: there is nothing in my direction for 500 metres except sand and gravel and one unicyclist. I would like to think that someone who rides a motorcycle has better observational skills than to need to be told about the unicyclist.

As I ride past, the first biker grins and says, “That is the maddest f***ing thing I have ever seen!” I thank him politely, then choose the steepest descent I dare and make it to the bottom without incident. As I pick my way across the sand towards the quarry, I hear him say to his (presumably unobservant) companion: “Did you see that?”

I have to climb over a stone barrier into the quarry. Some of the keener trail bikers are racing about here, doing regular loops around large concrete markers that appear to have been put there for the purpose. I ride past a group who are standing at the start of the “course” and receive no comment. With a determination borne of pride, I pick and plod my painful way step by step across the rutted sand, UPDing once and falling full length, but quickly remounting and riding on.

After a couple of hundred metres of this, I am exhausted. This is the hardest riding I have ever done. Every step of the way is a test of skill and stamina. I need another rest, and I climb to the top of one of the sand heaps and watch the bikers racing about. They seem to lack imagination, just accelerating hard in a straight line along the longest diagonal of the quarry, then turning slowly and racing back - the thrills of speed and noise to the exclusion of all else.

From my high vantage point, I can see a tempting sandy slope on the far side of the quarry. I clamber down, remount, and finding a gap in the bike traffic, make it to the slope without a break. I climb up, remount and ride down the slope, the wheel fishtailing (if a unicycle can fishtail?) and making me feel really hardcore. I climb back to the top and try a steeper route, but it is too much: the wheel disappears from beneath me as the sand gives way, and it is all I can do to avoid the next few seconds of my life being governed entirely by the laws of ballistics.

I climb onto the next bank and find another smaller quarry, this one with a small lake at the bottom of it. I remount at the top of the bank and make as if to ride down the steep side. Self preservation kicks in at the last moment . There will be no Darwin Awards here, thank you very much. I jog down the slope and retrieve the uni. I then remount and ride down a less severe slope, past the edge of the pond, and across to the far side of the quarry, where I climb up on foot, and go over the bank back onto The Desert.

With a couple of UPDs, I make it across The Desert fairly easily, although I am now desperately short of calories. I have to dismount for the last bit and fight my way through a barrier of saplings and undergrowth to regain the main track. I then retrace my earlier route past the crevasses and the former Black Lagoon. Here I meet a middle aged couple, bizarrely strolling with their white husky-type dog. If I were going for a stroll, within 500 metres of beautiful woodland, the former Black Lagoon would be the last place I would choose. If I had a white husky-type dog, nothing would possess me to take it to such a dirty place.

I ride past them, hearing the obligatory, “Oh look!” of the woman who assumes her husband to be unobservant. I set off up one of the most difficult climbs I know, and am annoyed with myself when I UPD very early. I remount, ride back down, turn and set off back up. 100 metres later, with bushes encroaching from the left, and a steep drop into a deep rut to my right, I UPD again. I miss the remount and decide to walk to the top - a rare surrender, but I have little left in the tank, and my rib is hurting.

At the top of the slope is the disused railway track bed. This is on a high steep sided embankment. The track is long gone, and the bed has subsided into a series of deep hollows, with puddles at the bottom of them. This used to be the most difficult bit of riding I knew, but that was years ago. Now it is easy. It starts off as fun, swooping down through each puddle then cresting the small rise before the next one, but it gradually becomes tedious. I hear a motorcycle approaching from behind and pull over to let him past. He gestures his thanks but turns off before he reaches me, and rides down the embankment.

At the end of this section is a ramp down. It took me a year or two of visits before I dared to ride down this, but now it is bread and butter riding: keep it steady, don’t go crazy, and the job’s done. That’s one of the disadvantages of having the right equipment and more experience: it gets harder to find somewhere to stretch your ability without exposing yourself to real danger. At nearly 44, living alone, and with a responsible job, I can afford cuts and bruises, but not serious fractures or injuries that will put me out of action for days or weeks. That leaves me having to find my challenges in coping with slow and tiring technical stuff like The Desert rather than chasing ever steeper descents or big drops.

At the bottom, I am back in woodland. The track is muddy and the tree branches hang low. I hear two motorcycles approaching and see them through a gap in the trees. They come round the corner and find me idling to one side of the track to let them pass.

The next section is really difficult, because my usual escape route from here is a foot bridge and it recently been closed off with spiked metal barriers and barbed wire. I therefore follow a narrow path between saplings, constantly ducking and using my helmet and arms to ward off foliage and small branches.

Someone has tried to block this path by cutting down some of the saplings and laying them across it so, like everyone else appears to have done, I zigzag around the trunks of the cut trees, taking a longer an more challenging route, and perhaps causing more damage than if they had left the path unblocked.

This path runs alongside a railway line, and eventually, I find a gap and ride through onto the edge of the track. This is strange. The track is almost parallel to the trackbed I was riding on earlier, but about 5 metres lower. The higher one just stopped - there is no obvious way for it to continue. Why would there be a dead end railway line 5 metres higher than the other? I assume that the higher one was used to carry coal, sand or gravel that was then transferred down a loading chute to rolling stock on the lower railway. Right or wrong, the “deliberate mistakes” are nothing to do with the relative heights of the tracks. Promise!

The lower railway, the one I have just reached, still has sleepers and rails. I am pretty sure it is not in use these days. The rails are rusty. It is also a Sunday when a goods line is less likely to be in use anyway. I decide to ride along the track between the rails, more to be able to say I’ve done it than for any good reason. It is tough riding, with the grey stone ballast crunching and grinding beneath the tyre, and the regular obstacles of the concrete sleepers. After a minute or two of this I UPD and sit on one of the rails to regain my breath.

I notice that only 50 metres further on, the rails are missing. That is fairly conclusive proof that the railway is no longer in use! I remount and ride until the concrete sleepers give way to wooden ones, with sharper angles. This is too much like hard work and I walk the next 20 metres or so to a bridge, then scramble down through gorse until I reach the top of a low brick wall, about a metre and a half above the bridlepath that runs under the bridge. I know where I am because I’ve ridden under this bridge a few times over the years.

Picture the scene, gentle reader: I am in cycling shoes, short socks, Lycra cycling shorts, and a proper cycling top. I am wearing a cycle helmet and wrist guards, and scrambling down a steep railway embankment through gorse and briars, carrying a unicycle with a 3" section knobbly tyre and pinned pedals. The image is pretty hardcore, is it not? Even at a cursory glance, I could not be mistaken for a novice. So when I see four bicyclists riding along the trail below me, why does one of them say, “Where’s the rest of your bike, mate?” with a hint of derision in his tone.

I have thought long and hard about this, and I have reached the conclusion that the answer involves him being a complete and utter pillock.

The other three cyclists seem equally unamused by their companion’s foray into comedy, and make polite comments. They are waiting to go through a gate, and wonder whether I wish to go ahead of them or to let them go first. In fact, I am going in the opposite way, but I thank them for their courtesy. I drop down off the wall, mount and ride under the bridge, hearing three lots of comments expresing mild amazement, and one lot of forced laughter. The guy may not know it, but he is only one inadvertant “Dit dit diddle iddle…” from an 18 speed, disc braked, twin shock suppository. Well, I suppose that would be three shocks, but you know what I mean.

I soon find myself at one of the BMX areas. There are no BMXers around to impress, but I do a traditional lap of the bumps just for the sake of it, then pop out onto the main path, and cross behind the bench seat and into the narrow path that leads into the woods.

50 metres later, I reach the place where I spoke to some amiable mountainbikers a week or two ago. One of them had urged me to ride down one of the steep sections. Cunningly, I had ridden down one of the easiest, but hammed it up a bit for the audience. Today, for my own amusement, I rode up the bit that I rode down on that day - which shows how easy the descent really was! I am still chuckling to myself as I reach the top, then I stop chuckling with remarkable suddenness as I sit back down with eye-watering clumsiness.

My left knee has been hurting for some time. My right leg was scratched by the gorse. Now I don’t know which hurts most: my left leg, my right leg or something in between.

Boom boom!

Regaining my composure, I ride along the narrow single track, about 5 metres above the main track below. I hear the macho shouts of mountainbikers, and at a crossroads ahead, one passes from my right to my left, takes off and flies down the steep bank. To be fair, it’s quite impressive. Another appears and does the same, more cautiously. The third appears and hesitates. I look down the slope and see that the first has his camera out and is urging the third to ride down the slope. As he does so, I pass behind him, amused that the photo of his “great deed of daring” will have a cross country unicyclist in the background, apparently riding the same route.

The photographer is one of those irritating people who, unable to think of anything amusing to say, laughs anyway in the hope that people will join him. When they don’t, he intersperses his laughter with comments like, “Look! Look!” I ignore him and ride down a fairly steep gravelly ramp - steep enough to be genuinely impressive, I think - and am rewarded with the comment, “You, Sir, are a legend!” He spoils this with more forced laughter, and is still forcing it as I crest the next hill and turn a corner and pass out of sight, although not earshot.

By now, I am really running low on fuel. My rib is hurting. My left knee is giving me gip. It is definitely time to turn towards the car park. I follow well-known paths through the pines until I reach the watchtower. Although this has nothing whatsoever to do with military plans against glider borne invasion forces (see a previous wride up) it really does exist. As usual, I climb it and enjoy the view, such as it is. Around me there are uniform rows of spruce and pine. The pines are just coming to the end of their season, with only a few pineapples remaining on the floor more or less eaten away by the crows.

I watch a small posse of mountainbikers pass beneath me. I gather my thoughts and strength for the last leg of the journey and climb down from the tower. It is now only a couple of kilometres back to the car, and I take pleasantly interesting paths through the wood rather than just taking the direct route along the main “yeller brick”. By the time I reach the outside seating area near the café, my GPS shows about 9.7 miles. It is only a number, and I head directly to the car, rather than making a point of clocking up the full 10. I’ve ridden further many times, but this has been one of the toughest physical rides I’ve ever done.

Bizarrely, the GPS shows my maximum speed as 14.5 mph. That is strange because I can’t hit that on the KH24 on a flat tarmac. I guess it’s a rogue reading. The average for the ride is a less impressive 5.5 mph!

Several hours later, typing this, my rib is very sore. Possibly bruised, possibly cracked. Who knows? The symptoms and treatment are pretty much identical. Due to other commitments I am unlikley to be riding for a week or two anyway, which is one reason why this wride up is longer than usual.

There are two deliberate mistakes in there. Uusal rules: they are errors of general knowledge. You don’t need to be a unicyclist or a regular reader of my wride ups to spot them. They are nothing to do with grammar or turns of phrase, and there are no deliberate tricks where I mix up my lefts and rights or ups and downs. They are things you could check in any general knowledge book or encyclopaedia. If you spot them, PM me. Please do not post the answers or comments about the mistakes to this thread - it might spoil it for someone else, even if you don’t want to play. Answers and winners to be announced in a couple of days. For bonus marks, why the title?

LOL. Surely the bruised rib must have been worthwhile just for that moment.

Priceless.

I guess it was the day for it today. I hope you haven’t hurt your rib too badly.

Usual comments about your write ups apply.

wow i could never type 3 pages

nice read as always!!

Chase

It was more than that - about 8 pages as a Word Pro document before I posted it. It took ages to slice it properly to post it as there is a maximum of 10 000 charcters per post.

So far, only one PM with an answer to the “delibrate mistakes”.

There are two deliberate mistakes, and one bonus question (why the title?).

Rib still very painful. I went to see Motorhead last night, and spent an uncomfortable couple of hours trying to protect it in a rowdy crowd.:frowning:

[QUOTE=Mikefule]

I ride past The Sandpit Formerly Known as the Black Lagoon, then scramble over deep gravel and wheel ruts towards The Desert. In doing so, I do some of the most technically demanding riding of the day so far. Much has changed since my last visit. The wheel ruts are deeper. there is severe erosion from flooding. Parts of the road have completely collapsed, with crevasses opening up to hollow chambers a metre or more down. This is no exaggeration. It’s as if there had been an underground stream following the course of the track and the track had fallen away during heavy rain. Weird.
QUOTE]

When I first came here I lived for a while in a house share. The top room of one of a block of four townhouses. The brickwork of “our” house showed that there was significant subsidence, and could be seen visibly sloping downwards towards the corner of the house. It was rented accomodation, and as such was not going to repaired any time soon. The road outside had the odd minor undulation, but nothing too concerning. One bright and sunny morning I looked out of the window to see a black mark in one of the undulations. I went out to investigate and it was a 6" wide hole in the road. Poking a stick down it, the hole was an inverted V shape, and at least 6 feet deep. I could hear water somewhere below.

So, in public spirited mode, I placed a bright yellow bucket, with a couple of heavy bricks in it, over the hole and went back in to make a couple of cardboard warning signs. When I came out a BMW had hit the bright yellow bucket, in full summer sunshine, and its rear wheel had gone down the hole. Idiot! He actually shouted at me for leaving a brick filled bucket in the road, and at the same time confessed he had intentionally decided to run over the bucket. I was hoping to see the whole car disappear, but was disappointed. Minimal damage had been caused to the car, and it seemed to drive normally once hauled out.

This was caused by a underground stream, which had caused the house subsidence, and I later learned, was the cause of cracks that appeared in the swimming pool in the garden of the house across the road, draining it one night. “Our” house was demolished a few years later.

Seven entries so far. Most people have spotted the two deliberate mistakes. A couple of creative answers to the bonus question: why the title?

I’m starting to think the title is a bit too obscure for the younger generation, but there is a big clue in the wride up if you look.

Still suffering from the bruised rib, and struggling with things like moving the motorbike, putting on heavy jackets, and so on. That’s another nice mess I’ve gotten myself into.

Ouch, hope you heal quick! I’m not a fan of wristguards, they seem to create as much potential for injury as they remove. Having one slide over the fingers of the other hand is definitely not fun, also I’ve heard stories of people suffering broken arms because all the force of a fall is transferred from the wrist to the forearm.

My wristguards are Salomon - clearly a wise precaution - and are designed for snowboarding, I think. They have certainly saved me from injury several times. But not this time.

One person has now got the bonus question right, so it can be done!

Answers posted around 17:30 GMT 21st Nov 2006. Keep 'em coming.:slight_smile:

Hmmm. Not the most successful quiz ever. With hindsight, I think the post was too long. It was an epic ride though.:slight_smile:

OK, here’s the first deliberate mistake:

  • <<and sometimes near to the edge of the trail, the gaping mouths of animal burrows - mainly rabbit and [B]squirrel[/B]. >>

    Squirrels - at least the grey tree rats and red squirrels we get in the UK - do not make their burrows in the ground. They live in dreys in the trees.

    Here’s the second one:
    [LIST]

  • <<The pines are just coming to the end of their season, with only a few [B]pineapples [/B]remaining on the floor more or less eaten away by the crows.>>

Pineapples do not grow on pine trees. Pine trees grow pine cones.

And the title? A bit tenuous, but:
Stunned in the Desert.

The clues are:
From the wride up itself:

  • << I would have retired to my armchair with a stiff whisky and a [B]Laurel & Hardy[/B] DVD.>>

From my later post on the thread:
<< That’s another nice mess I’ve gotten myself into.>>

Laurel & Hardy’s best known full length film was Sons of the Desert. In the film, Stan and Ollie were members of an organisation known as the Sons of the Desert. The world wide Laurel and Hardy fan club is now called The Sons of the Desert. Sounds a little bit like “Stunned in the Desert” if you squint as you listen.:stuck_out_tongue:

And here are the winners in the order their entries were received:
[/LIST]

  • [B]Cathwood[/B]: pineapples
  • [B]JerryAttrick[/B]: squirrels, pineapples
  • [B]rob.northcott[/B]: squirrels, pineapples
  • [B]Naomi[/B]: squirrels and pineapples
  • [B]mark williamson[/B]: best answer so far: Squirrels don't make burrows anymore in this part of the country - they prefer higher ground where they're less likely to get hit by falling pineapples.
  • [B]munidobs[/B]: squirrels and pineapples. Most creative answer to the bonus question: As for the title, could it be a play on words - you were stunned to find pineapples, Stunned in the Dessert ?
  • [B]domesticated ape[/B]: squirrels and pineapples
  • [B]brian.slater[/B]: pineapples [B]and the bonus question[/B] - after the extra clue, although he also picked up the DVD reference.

Naomi: P.S. I am not sure that Anne Robinson’s surgery was quite that extensive: you do know that a Platic is a model of welding machine?

Very nice. I didn’t even venture a guess since I didn’t find them both. The pineapple error was obvious to me since I live in one of the largest ponderosa pine forests in the world. But the squirrel reference eluded me, once again due to local knowlege. Here in the American southwest we have several varieties of ground dwelling squirrels. Congrats to those who did get correct answers. Keep 'em coming Mike.

I figured out the pineapple one, but didnt notice the squirrels. =p

Great write up.:smiley:

Ah, but I do have a computer with a DVD drive, and occasionally watch old black and white movies on that. I certainly know how to party! Well remembered, though!:slight_smile: