Monday, 23 January 2012

BOFmobiles: Identification and Avoidance

Those of you who are unfortunate enough to follow us on Twitter may have noticed sporadic mentions of a mystical beast called the 'BOFmobile'.  A few of you have asked what this strange creature I shall endeavour to explain through the medium of words.

IDENTIFICATION:  A BOFmobile is a Land Rover.  Be it a Range Rover or a Freelander, they're commonly black and chrome but can present themselves in any guise.  The one feature that all BOFmobiles have is tinted windows.  If you see any of the aforementioned vehicles passing by, don't panic unless it has tinted windows.  If it does have tinted windows, keep your head down and do NOT, under any circumstances, make eye contact with the driver.

THE DRIVER:  BOFmobiles are driven by BOFs.  BOFs are very boring people.  They're so boring in fact, that if they attempt to speak to you, you will fall into a coma within ten seconds; such is the potency of their dullness.  You might even see a BOF before you see his vehicle.  This would give you a head start in BOF avoidance; so keep your eyes peeled for these seven sure signs of BOFness:
  • Male
  • Between 40 and 50
  • Usually blond
  • Jeans and a linen jacket
  • Highly polished Chelsea boots
  • Expensive aftershave with a hint of smoky bacon
  • Unidentifiable, slightly upper-class 'British' accent 

AVOIDANCE TECHNIQUES:  If you think you're in the vicinity of a BOF or a BOFmobile, time is of the essence and you must take immediate action.  Leave the area as soon as is humanly possible.  If this means running across a motorway or driving at speed through barriers at a level crossing, do it.  The injuries you may suffer as a result of fleeing will be nothing in comparison to the soul-crushing, vapid, tedious, soporific pabulum that will be inflicted upon you by a BOF.  Avoid painfully expensive restaurants and media centres.  Eschew operas.

EMERGENCY ACTION:  Unfortunately, some of us will be caught by a BOF.  They can emerge from anywhere.  Should this happen to you; don't panic.  Take deep, even breaths and focus.  Watch his lips move and play a song in your head.  Any Scissor Sisters track usually does the trick.  Should that technique fail and you find your eyelids becoming heavy, point over his shoulder and shout "Vintage car rally!"  When his eyes light up and he turns his head, leg it.  Scarper.  Run as fast as you can and disappear into the nearest greasy spoon or grotty pub.  He'll never follow you in there.

I hope this information will help some of you avoid the anguish of dealing with a BOF.  Keep your wits about you, folks.  Godspeed. 

Samuel, Pet and Boxing

We’ve been having rather a lot of fun with a pair of boxing gloves recently.  So much fun, in fact, that we  didn't notice when Samuel the Slate crept into the kitchen of our  apartment and stole Monty’s keys.  I told Coyote not to leave them on the table; but he didn’t think that my idea of stashing them in the garbage disposal was much cop.  Tsk.

It would seem that Samuel’s showing a rather posh lady around Wales.  All we know is that her name’s Petula and that she has a pony.  And a Porsche.  And that she likes Pimm’s.  We know this because of the footage left on Auntie Pentax when Monty was eventually returned; covered in starling poo.

She’s a bit of an enigma, this Petula.  What’s she doing in Wales?  Why does she sound like she’s got a plum (a tin of them) in her gob?

Perhaps we’ll hear from her again.  In the meantime, see what you think...

WARNING:  Contains the usual foul language from Samuel.  Petula doesn’t swear though.  Gosh, no!

*Meep Meep!* 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Wynford Vaughan-Thomas on: Golf

Golf.  Billiards on an oversized table...but with fewer balls.  Especially on ladies' day.  What's the point of it?  A golf course has to be the only place on earth where you'll find fully-grown men squatting down to inspect a hole.  Well - apart from a doctor's surgery, I suppose.  No; I simply don't understand the appeal of wandering around a field, trying to thwack a small ball into a hole in the ground.  I have played golf...and it didn't go well.

See; I was invited by a BBC bigwig to play a round on Aberdyfi links back in 1974.  For some reason, people with a lot of money (the ones who own black Range Rovers) seem to think that playing golf makes them look distinguished.  It doesn't.  It makes them look like they got dressed in the dark. 

His name was Beddan Jones.  He arrived at the golf club in a cream Triumph TR5; his comb-over flapping in the breeze while the sun bounced off his bald head.  I could see his golf bag jutting up on the passenger seat like some kind of substitute wife.  His actual wife, Buddig, was a formidable woman; built like a brick shit house with an attitude to match.  Frankly, if I had a dog with a face like hers, I'd shave its arse and walk it backwards...but I digress.  He sprung out of the car like an epileptic Cocker Spaniel; strode over to me and shook my hand with such gusto that I thought my eyes were going to fall out.

He suggested that we should start the day in the club house.

Three hours later we staggered on to the course; irretrievably crapulous on whisky.  Beddan attempted to show me how to tee-off; piercing his golf shoe and promptly tottering into a bunker.  I got the gist of it though, and managed - by closing one eye - to tee-up.  While Beddan occupied himself with trying to claw his way out of the bunker, sand in unmentionable places, I rummaged through his clubs and found the biggest one I could; because logistically that would give me a better chance of hitting the ball.

I'll never forget the sound that echoed between the dunes mere seconds after the club flew out of my hands.  It was like someone hitting an unripe watermelon with a sledgehammer.  Just as Beddan had managed to stand up; the poor bugger.

He didn't press charges and the dent in his forehead was easily covered with a trilby. 

Rugby's the game for me.  You know where you are with 30 burly, sweaty men in shorts.  It's less dangerous than golf, too.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Samuel and Sybil Hijack Monty

Having joined us on a few journeys recently, Samuel and Sybil the Slate (from Blaenau Ffestinigog) seem to have developed quite a love of gadding about Wales. 

Recently, we were enjoying an afternoon off when Samuel approached Coyote.  In his inimitable, gummy way, he asked Coyote if he could borrow Monty’s keys.

Now...between you and me, Coyote isn’t the most sensible of characters.  Not only that; he’s also incredibly generous.  This is a lethal mix when faced with a gnarly old slate quarry owner who has beady, puppy-dog eyes.  If I hadn't been busy looking for sharks in the hotel swimming pool, I would've dissuaded him.  Sadly, in my absence, he handed the keys over. 

My camera was in the glove box.  Through some sort of miracle, Sybil must’ve figured out how to switch it on without maiming herself; because I found the following footage when I came to clear the SD card...

Looks like they had a good time.  Terrible language, though.  Absolutely disgusting.  Tsk.

Drama at the Beacon

Yesterday, we once more found ourselves in Aberystwyth.  The sun was setting over the calm water and we stood enthralled by a group of surfers.  Not enthralled as in, 'Whoa, they're amazing', you understand.  No.  It was more of a 'Why the hell would you want to do that?' type of enthralled.  I mean...really.  Waves with all the gusto of a fart in a bath; freezing cold, soaking wet...nah.  We'd rather be sat on a bench scoffing fish and chips.  'Fun at the beach' to us means calories, getting our own back on seagulls and building wonky pebble stacks as the sun dips to the horizon.  None of that neoprene nonsense for us, thank you very much.

Coyote amused himself by putting his flat cap on my head - backwards.  I looked like Frank Spencer.  Can you imagine him with a DSLR?  "Ooh Betty; my camera's done an oopsie!"  [Glides past on roller skates and vanishes under nearest bus.]

Thankfully, our eyes were drawn away from the silly wet people in the water as some drama appeared to be unfolding over by the beacon.  A young couple had strolled to the end of the point to watch the sunset...but their mood seemed to have shifted from cutely romantic to edgily uneasy.  Furtively, I lifted my lens and captured the incident in all its shocking detail...

The man cautiously peered over the edge into the icy waters beneath.  Had he lost something?  His keys?  His wallet?  Perhaps he'd spotted something interesting in the water mermaid or something. (Never buy a mermaid a pair of tights.  She really won't appreciate the gesture.)  His lady started to walk towards him...

As she did so, his body language changed.  He looked sheepish.  Not all white and fluffy with four legs; but positively diffident.  It was becoming rather clear that it wasn't something replaceable that Mr Man had lost.  Our imaginations started to tick over.  Perhaps he was going to propose to her and had dropped the shiny rock?  Or maybe he'd just dropped a winning lotto ticket in there...!  The suspense was immense; like that feeling you get in the morning when you had a dodgy curry the night before and someone got to the bathroom before you.

She wasn't happy.  She slumped forward, gazing into the deep sea at the end of the headland.  He appeared to clutch his chest; looking at her devastated shoulders - words failing him.  It suddenly became all too clear what had happened.  Even Coyote and I were so shocked that we couldn't find any humour.  He'd obviously dropped - it pains me to even type it - he'd dropped the Greggs sausage roll they were sharing.  What a fool.

He had everything.  His life was perfect; his woman loved him...and in a moment of flippant carelessness, he threw it all away.  As the remains of their Greggs sausage roll bobbed out of the bay, so his happiness ebbed away from him.  She would search her soul; but in her heart she knew she couldn't bring herself love a man without a Greggs sausage roll.

Such a waste.  Such a terrible, terrible tragedy.  It just goes to show that you should take good care of the little things.  A man can have all the money in the world...

...but he's nothing without a Greggs sausage roll.

Wynford Vaughan-Thomas on: Mobile Phones

It had been a while since Coyote and Roadrunner last paid me a visit.  I'd begun to imagine what had happened to them.  Perhaps they'd been arrested in Pembroke Dock for crimes against poo bags.  Maybe they'd been run over in Holyhead by a one-legged man in a wheelchair.  Perhaps they'd fallen foul of an angry Range Rover driver...

...The more I thought about it, the more I missed them.  They may be an irksome pair of idiots who are both a sandwich short of a picnic; perhaps they are both a banana short of a bunch - but it does get lonely up here.  It's even more lonely when it's frosty because I can't even see the sheep.  I only know they're there because of their incessant bleating.  And the faint waft of crap on the morning air.

So, as much as it pains me to say it, my heart smiled a little when I saw the familiar blue car appearing once again.  Perhaps they'd bought me something nice!  A steak and onion pie, maybe.  Or a keg of warm ale.  Ooh...maybe they'd brought me a slice of Kendal Mint Cake and a tartan flask of weak tea!

No.  Of course they hadn't.  They brought me a strange pink thing with a tiny television screen and buttons on it.  What - in the name of all that is mountainous - was this contraption?  After being educated in the technology of modern music, I was dubious to say the least.  Coyote leant by me and started to explain.

"This, Wynnie," he said, "is a mobile phone."  I glared at him.  How can a telephone be mobile?  There were no wheels on it!  The man had clearly lost his last marble.  
"Where are the wires?"  I asked.  I was going to catch him out.
"There aren't any.  That's why it's 'mobile'.  Your voice is turned into a signal that flies through the air and bounces around via big aerials."
"Were you dropped on your head as a child?" I asked.
"No...but Roadrunner did knee me in the face last week."
"Explains a lot," I concurred.  "So, does this mean that I can speak to people from up here?"
"  Because this is Roadrunner's old phone.  It only works on a Wednesday afternoon when she sacrifices a goat at the entrance of King Arthur's Labyrinth while chanting the theme tune to 'Wales Today' and wearing black robes and a crown of elderberries."
I frowned.  "Shower of shit."
They both smiled.  "We thought you'd say that."

And with that, they left.  They didn't take the damned thing with them, either.  It's still stuck to the end of my finger like some kind of tenacious bogey.  A pink one.  Bastards.

Boxing, Babs, Samuel and Sheep

It's been another epic weekend of Coyote and Roadrunner randomness.

After spending Friday night in the company of Uncle Penderyn and Auntie Stella, we were a little bleary-eyed when Saturday arrived.  That, however, didn't deter us.

It had been a while since we paid Wynford Vaughan-Thomas a visit, so we popped up to see him with a few things to ask his opinion on.  Coyote was pretty sure that he saw us coming and started chuntering...but he was more than happy to share his viewpoint on a variety of items after we'd bribed him with a pint of ale and a steak and onion pie.  We'll share his wisdom very soon.

On the return journey, we were joined by Samuel the Slate and his wife Sybil; Boycie and Barbara Windsor.  We stopped to intrigue some sheep...and we had some fun with a boxing glove.


[WARNING:  Contains some naughty language, terrible laughing, a lot of rudeness and a storage container.]

*Meep Meep!*

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Urbex: Not for Kirstie Allsopp

Urbex.  'Urban Exploration'.  What is it and why do people do it?  This blog post will examine these questions in depth and attempt to answer them by utilising applied psychology and references to ham sandwiches.

Roadrunner has been fascinated with urbex since she saw a TV show about haunted theatres.  After having her interest piqued, she toddled off into Internet Land and started trawling for information.  Soon, she found herself pawing through a website full of reports on abandoned and derelict buildings.  She sat transfixed; engrossed in the decay and sadness that oozed from each forgotten hospital, factory, house and asylum.  She was hooked.  Hours passed and she drank another coffee as dawn crept over the valley.  Then she fell asleep on the keyboard and woke up a few hours later with QWERTYUIOP embossed on her forehead.  (Well, perhaps not all of the letters.  Her forehead isn't quite that big...but you get the idea.)

It was the challenge (no coracles involved) that first attracted her.  The thought of having to run away from guard dogs, scale fences, vault over razor wire...her heart quickened at the thrilling notion.  So she started hunting for her first urbex target.  Soon, she would join a close-knit circle of global urbexers; an unusual breed of photographers who relish spending their spare time stomping over asbestos, ducking CCTV cameras and trying to avoid falling through rotten floorboards while they take moody, grainy photographs to document the last days of desolate buildings all over the world.

Fast-forward several years and she'd been given her urbex name of 'Roadrunner'.  Through some miracle of modern technology (a complex blend of Radio Wales, coffee, Twitter and Louise Elliott), she met Coyote.  To date, they've travelled through 236 towns and villages in Wales with Monty...and Coyote has displayed quite a finely-honed urbex radar.  While Roadrunner is busy frowning at her Pentax LCD screen, Coyote's nose twitches at the slightest whiff of crumbling bricks and powdered mortar.

In fact, on their recent trip to Conwy, Coyote's radar beeped so loudly that he threw Monty into a ferocious turn and slammed the anchors on with such force that Roadrunner's ham sandwich (a gluey, thoroughly vile lump of cack that would've been better suited to making wallpaper paste) flew off the back seat and skittered under the passenger seat.  If he keeps doing things like that, he'll end up with a festering picnic under there.  Peppered steak slices, fries, half-eaten cheeseburgers...hmm.  He'll be getting some bin bags and an ACME car air-freshener for his birthday this year.

Up a gnarly, narrow road they found a cluster of buildings.  A storage shed, what looked like an old garage and the higgledy-piggledy house at the top of this post.  Who knows what stories the house could tell?  And that's what it's all about.

The old gardener wheels his barrow down the path; pitchfork and shovel clattering over the bumps.  In the cold morning light, he slowly bends over to inspect the rose bushes.  Plumes of laboured, misty breath mingling with the frosty air, he begins to deadhead the weathered twigs as a robin hops around his worn leather boots looking for disturbed insects...

If you see two people - one standing calmly in a flat cap and the other swearing loudly at her Pentax - poking around a ruin near you; please don't call the police.  They're not criminals...they're just curious.
And a bit bonkers.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Samuel the Slate

It doesn't take much to fuel Coyote and Roadrunner's intrepid trips around Wales.  In fact, we're usually fine with a few coffees from Tuffins (or McDonald's.  Not Burger King though; their coffee is totally gopping), a peppered steak slice and some Tic Tacs.

However, yesterday was different.  We were in dire need of some sugar.  Glucose, to be precise.  We needed LUCOZADE.

It made perfect sense for us to head up to Conwy to pick up a can we'd seen outside a castle somewhere.  Yes; we could've just popped into the local paper shop to get some...but this was a special can of Lucozade.  We had to have that can of Lucozade.  So we jumped into Monty and headed north.

I still don't quite know how it happened - but I ended up sitting in the passenger seat while some rude old bloke called Samuel the Slate (from Blaenau Ffestiniog) drove.  Even Barbara Windsor appeared along the way.  Coyote was fast asleep on the back seat until I woke him up...

Some swine got to the Lucozade before we did, so we had to settle for stealing a golf ball instead.  Ah; happy days.  **Meep Meep!** 

Friday, 6 January 2012

Ode to Monty

Ode to Monty

Monty is a car with cojones
An intrepid Mystery Mobile
With his climax control set to twenty-one
He's brimming with 4-wheel appeal.

Coyote and Roadrunner love him
He's the third member of the team
He takes them to some incredible places
Some obscure and obscene...

But wherever the trio eventually land
They always find something bizarre
Holyhead to Tenby
In Monty - the Cayman blue car.

Poo bags, wheelbarrows and ruins
Onion rings, coffee and beer
A one-legged man on a speed bump
Starlings mobbing a pier 

Ancient cans of Lucozade
Discarded party hats
Lighthouses flashing on the ocean
Barbed wire fences, cow pats.

Monty takes it all in his stride
Through sunshine, downpours and gales
Give him a wave if you see him sometime
On his intrepid travels through Wales :)

Coyote and Roadrunner: 10 Questions

1.  What's your favourite word?

2.  What's your favourite TV show?
     Telly shopping repeats.

3.  Do you like Pembrokeshire?
     Only on a leap year.

4.  If you could be a human, who would you be and why?
    Ena Sharples.  Because you can't beat a glass of stout in the snug.

5.  What's your favourite quote?
    "Never buy a mermaid a pair of tights."

6.  Which came first: the chicken or the egg?
     The egg.  Because you don't have to pay 5p for a carrier bag.

7.  How do you like your bacon sandwiches?
    With Frosties.

8.  What one item would you rescue from your house in a fire?
     The fire blanket.  In case I get chilly.

9.  What do you honestly think of slippers?
     They're ok if they come with a pipe and a Val Doonican LP.

10.  If you could punch one person in the face, who would it be and why?
      Anyone who dares to wear offensive ties on television.

1.  What's your favourite word?

2.  What's your favourite TV show?
     Wales Today

3.  Do you like Pembrokeshire?
     Only on Mondays and Tuesdays.

4.  If you could be a human, who would you be and why?
     The person who makes the pretty sprinkles that go on ice cream.  They must be magic.

5.  What's your favourite quote?
     "I know they're built for it; but I feel sorry for those sheep."

6.  Which came first: the chicken or the egg?
     Depends where you are in the queue at McDonalds.

7.  How do you like your bacon sandwiches?
    Crispy, hot and preferably in my gob.

8.  What one item would you rescue from your house in a fire?
     The fire extinguisher.  Those things are expensive.

9.  What do you honestly think of slippers?
     I only like Bagpuss ones.  They wake up for ten minutes every day and tell me stories.

10.  If you could punch one person in the face, who would it be and why?
       Anyone who dislikes sprouts.  Sprouts need love, too!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Poo Bag Pretenders

Poo bags.  They've become a bit of a feature on this blog, haven't they?  They've become a bit of a feature in pretty much everything Coyote and Roadrunner do, really...

...which is rather amusing as, even though we both have dogs, they don't come with us on our random and always unplanned adventures around Wales.  In case you're reading this and haven't got a clue what we're talking about, you'd better have a quick shufti at this:  That's where it all started.  We've even returned since to boost our supplies!

Now then.  Christmas is a time for giving, right?  Right.  And it's always nice when you're given something that obviously has some thought behind imagine our delight when Coyote unwrapped a present from Roadrunner's dad's girlfriend and found POO BAGS inside!  The glee!  The wonder!  The awe!  Feverishly, we opened the box to check them out.  Would they rival the legendary Pembroke Dock poo bags?  Could the Pembrokeshire town be about to lose its poo bag crown?  The suspense was immense!

It didn't happen.  The bags in question were black and, although they carried a pleasant scent, they couldn't match the delicate bubble gum whiff and sheer quality of the ferry terminal bags.  Plus...these pretenders had been paid for.  The Pembroke Dock poo bags are free.  Yes - gratis.  No strings attached.  (Ok; so the new bags only cost £1 and it's a little more expensive than that to travel to Pembrokeshire...but that's just a minor issue that isn't worth quibbling over.)

These bags didn't even have a picture of a dog doing a poo on them.  That must be a design fault; after all, can you imagine the confusion?  Without a picture of their purpose, one might mistake the bags for actual bin bags - leading to much frustrated disappointment when you can't fit them in your kitchen waste vessel. 

No; Pembroke Dock still shines as the Mecca for discerning poo bag hunters.  Splendid.

If your local park or ferry terminal offers poo bags, please let us know.  Although impressed to bits by the Pembroke Dock bags, we're always on the lookout for improvement.  We might even pay your town a visit to check them out!  You have been warned.

Wynford Vaughan-Thomas on: 2012

Thank You, Thing

Having been dead for 25 years, I was hardly in the mood to celebrate the arrival of 2012.  I saw the fireworks exploding over the hills (well, one anyway.  In fact, it could’ve just been someone lighting a pipe outside the White Lion in Machynlleth) and I simply wasn’t stirred.

So on the first day of the year, when I saw the familiar blue car cresting the hill, my heart sank.  Coyote and Roadrunner.  They were bound to be laden with feather boas and vuvuzelas; and Coyote might even be wearing a kilt.  Kilts only just about suit Scottish men with hairy knees.  The thought of a Swansea boy wearing one made me blanch.  I wasn't having them jumping all over me like two over-excited puppies so I kindly told them to leave.

Surprisingly, they did.  They turned and left without a fuss.  I figured they must've been feeling a little rough around the edges after the festivities.

However.  Shortly afterwards, while I was minding my own business and looking for images of naked ladies in the clouds, I felt something strange on my head...

One of the little devils (I think it was Coyote) snuck up on me from behind and placed over my shrewd eyes...a hat. Yes, a soggy silver party hat which I initially thought was a deflated two-tone balloon stuck on a piece of cardboard (see, I knew that watching Blue Peter was good for something). Judging by the pink feather, I believe they may have liberated it from Chris Needs’ wardrobe.  Either that, or they found it under a car outside their hotel.  They didn't even bring me any haggis or whisky pizza.  To say that I was disappointed was an understatement.

When they finally left in a heady cloud of Tuffins coffee steam, a chill swept over me.  A new year has dawned.  A year of Coyote and Roadrunner's antics is bearing down on me like a dark cloud of foreboding.  Who knows what they have in store for me this year?  My spies at the BBC have told me that they're going to get me something from Abergele at the weekend...

Oh, woe is me. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Coyote Speaks!

Merry 2012, dear reader!  As a little 'thank you' for showing vague interest in our remarkably random and blatantly bonkers blog, we thought we'd give you a little insight into life on the road with Coyote and Roadrunner.

The following video not only shows you some of the stunning scenery we frequently have the pleasure of enjoying (ok; you'll see a bit of Blaenau Ffestiniog and some tarmac) but you'll also get to hear Coyote speak.  Yes...he has a voice!  Not only that; but I'm pretty sure you'll be enthralled by his mellifluous, insightful narratives as we pass through various glorious points in majestic north Wales.

The man's a wasted talent, lemme tell you.  

*Meep Meep!*

PS:  Please excuse the presence of Jedward at the start of the video.  We were listening to Radio Wales and were so enraptured by the sheer beauty of Blaenau Ffestiniog that we didn't notice their terrifying wailing coming out of the speakers.