Brewer's Droop #187

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THE RUMOURS OF MY DEMISE ARE HIGHLY EXAGERRATED

Just came back from a fabulous holiday, which included some skiing in Austria.

The last time I did any snow skiing was about 10 years ago when I raced my two sons down a mountain in America (winning by handicap I must mention). But skiing in America is much easier than Europe, so three months beforehand I started going to this sadist at a gym to get into better shape.

Sure enough, by the time I hit the slopes I had legs like piston-rods and was a lean, mean, 90kg of rippling muscle.

My two sons and I togged up on the first morning and headed for the nursery slopes (thinking I should get my skiing legs back slowly and ignoring taunts from the kids). But we made a wrong turn and ended up on a blue run which, in itself, was quite gentle really – although I did think I was moving a bit too fast for my liking.

Anyway, did that little run twice and the two brats suggested we go to the peak and take another blue run down from there. Okay, you can’t scare me.

Up we went in a gondola and I wasn’t allowed to get out at the halfway point (don’t be chicken, Dad) so we continued to the top where, when I positioned myself at the start, I realised this is a bloody precipice!

Where’s the blue run I ask someone and they point it out. The problem was (as I was to discover later) the bloody blue run is only really a couple of links between too seriously advanced slopes.

I fell over within 20m. Then again. And again.

But I got up some serious steam and screamed around a corner and it occured to me that I should pause before turning down what looks like the face of Everest. I spotted a heap of fresh snow and think ah-ha that’ll slow me down nicely – which it did and I cracked my head on something hard as I cartwheeled several times. It took 10 minutes to find one of my skis which was deeply buried.

Rutherford never gave up and neither would I, so with a pounding headache and trying to convince myself that I’m having a wonderful time, I headed downwards.

This time I got quite far down the slope but it’s wasn’t exactly what you’d call skiing. It was more like flailing.

Then I spotted a pub! (Unlike most American resorts, in Austria there are bar huts everywhere, I mean everywhere). As I was flat on my back anyway I kind of slid most of the way down to the hut and, with as much dignity as I could muster, strode into the pub where I met two absolutely gorgeous Austrian girls.

I was thinking about getting back on the gondola but, in my confused state, I realised this was not the halfway point at all – it’s just half way between the top and the halfway point. Oh dear Lord.

Naturally I have a few beers and I’m chatting to the girls who assure me that it’s an “easy” ski down to the halfway point for a strong man like me (yes, they get a lot of tips from old guys like myself). I don’t believe them but then I meet a South African guy who says that yes it is quite gentle. They all lied to me.

So a bit more flirtation and beer and I decide I can make it to the halfway point and maybe even back to the village with my reputation intact.

I immediately have the most spectacular crash ever seen on that mountain. I believe that people in Vienna heard me swearing and cursing. I also realised my knee wasn’t working properly, and I had serious concerns about even making it to the halfway point.

Then my sweet and kind children turned up and asked if I was having a spot of bother? (Sarcastic little sods).

After considering my predicament for a few moments I realised I probably would break the leg if I even tried to walk the rest of the way. So I asked them to go to the bottom and ask some kindly local rescue chap to get up here with his snowmobile.

In the meantime I crossed my skis (the international sign for distress), sat down and had a fag. And was joined several times by Germans and English who asked if I was okay and cadged cigarettes.

The rescue did come – but not a snowmobile. After describing my predicament many times to two men who couldn’t understand a word of English, they said they’d take me to the halfway house and from there I could get a gondola down.

Now was the truly embarrassing bit, because I was strapped into a BODY BAG on a ski-stretcher!

They took me down to the halfway point where a crowd of curious skiiers had stopped to watch this terrible tragedy. But to the crowd’s surprise I was unstrapped and stood up – it was like the resurrection!

I shouted IT’S A MIRACLE and flung my arms heavenward but nobody got the joke or perhaps they were disappointed – or German.

Anyway, I had to limp up some bloody slippery metal steps, throw myself onto a gondola (they hardly slowed the damn thing down) then leaped off at the bottom and trudged a kilometre down the street to where the wife and kids were having German sausage and Gluhwein.

So now you can say you know someone who’s been taken off the Alps in a body bag. I’m not going back – one body bag is enough.

SA IS TOP INVESTMENT

As you can imagine, following the above story, I had some time that week to do a little reading but the only English newspaper I could get was the Daily Bloody Telegraph.

Anyway, I found that they’d done a survey about which were the best countries in the world for investment property (holiday use and so forth). South Africa came 6th which is not too shabby.

According to the survey South Africa has “endless countryside, unspoilt villages, a burgeoning wine culture and a wonderful year-round climate.”

So they seem to think that the SA housing market will flourish. Maybe they know something that we don’t – because local reports suggest the holiday home market is crashing – or is it because they’re blinded by the exchange rate?

ELF AN SAFETY

Meanwhile, back in that bastion of maniacal posturing at Westminster, various cabinet ministers are proclaiming that Briton’s must change their lifestyles. One instruction is that everyone must have two clear non-drinking days a week. Also they seem to have back-pedalled on the idea that an aspirin a day is good for you because now they’re declaring that it will do more harm than good. And, after telling the population for so long that red wine is good, they now say it’s bad. Nobody knows about butter anymore with the good and bad supporters being divided about 50/50. They also say that nicotine patches are not much help in quitting smoking – after recommending them for decades.

So idiocy is still alive and well. As one columnist put it: “…the Tories made an end to the nanny state one of their grand aims – but that was at election time.”

No doubt a few of our own local lunatics will cherry pick some of the most ridiculous notions and introduce them here too.

TABLETS AND DIGITAL MEDIA

I’m noticing an increasing tendency for publishers to simply produce digital replicas of their publications for distribution via the internet – whether that’s via Browsers or Apps.

To me that sounds rather like writing a print ad and then copying it to use as a radio commercial (it happens).

The Internet and Social Media has been confusing established publishers for ages and nobody really knows what to do.

But surely the first step is to adapt? Recognise that reading on a smart phone, tablet or laptop is completely different to reading ink on paper. Media owners who do this will be ahead of the pack when everyone finally understands how to handle this new medium.

BREWERS

Please note that our office landline has changed to 021-702-4484. If you have any problems getting through then blame Telkom and call me on 082-551-1371

LAST BIT

From everything I’ve read, it seems to me that we’re all in for a good year (well, most of us are anyway). brewers.co.za has certainly seen a serious surge in business and I’m hearing great things from our clients.

But… I woke up last night to find the ghost of Gloria Gaynor standing at the foot of my bed.
At first I was afraid then I was petrified.

(No the humour clearly hasn’t improved for 2012).

Happy New Year!

Chris

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