Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blazing Saddles!

(no, not the movie! the book!)

To ensure I didn't suffer by missing anything Tour de France on the rest day on Tuesday, I bought a book at the airport in Melbourne while I was waiting for my (delayed) flight - Blazing Saddles by Matt Rendell. It's a potted history of the TdF (subtitled "The cruel and unusual history of the Tour de France").

It's not bad if you want a quick read, with an overview of each year of the race, and don't mind a fairly florid writing style - for example, of the "founder" of the TdF, Henri Desgrange, Rendell says "If the mad Marquis with the pornographic imagination had never existed, the word for taking pleasure from the infliction of pain and mental suffering on others would be 'desgrangism'".

Which, let's face it, is probably true given that Rendell reports that in the early Tours, the riders had to perform all mechanical repairs themselves, from items carried on them (most pictures show them with at least 2 or 3 inner tubes wrapped around their upper bodies, not unlike a bolero style cardigan!), they didn't wear any protective gear, and weren't allowed to ride as teams and to "assist" each other in the way they do now. Oh, and the Tours themselves were often over 5,000km, ridden on dirt (often muddy) roads over mountains and apparently during the night as well as the day. And spectators would regularly scatter nails on the road and even beat some of the riders!

But it's not all bad - apparently some used to drink champagne before each stage, and fans (or perhaps, saboteurs!) would often give them bottles of beer during the race (and not stubbies, oh no, longnecks!!).
So I'm onto tier 9 of my Lady Eleanor - sorry for the dark picture but it's not easy getting a day-time photo at the moment! Will update more on the weekend. It's not going to be finished during the race, but I've totally got the hang of this entrelac business. Now I just have to memorise the pattern so I can stop referring to it each time I start a new tier! That's when I'll have really earned my polka dot jersey!

14 comments:

Bells said...

What a great idea to read a book about it because frankly, in my scattered viewing, I'm not picking up much in the way of education. I'm too busy trying not to nod off between chateau glimpses!

That's fairly florid writing yes - I think that sounds pretty appropriate given the details! Shawl is looking fabulous!

kms said...

glad you are home safe and really getting into the TdF - adds a whole other dimension! and that entrelac!!

TinkingBell said...

I really only follow the crashes and excitements on the news - but love the Lady Eleanor - definitely a polka dot earner!

gemma said...

Your Lady Eleanor looks fabulous. I had better get a move on if I am to make a serious challenge to that polka dot jersery

Kate said...

It's looking stunning; a very fitting challenge for the TdF. As for the rid itse;f, it makes today's tour seem a little pedestrian, non?

Sarah said...

Ooh she's a beauty - and I still have to check the pattern :o)

Michele said...

here's a tip i picked up i think from the January One blog. write the entrelac instructions (in small print) on a tag and tie this to a corner of your wrap. i finally did this with my Lady E and it worked like a charm.

Diana said...

Actually sounds like a good book. I generally only read non-fiction except for Debbie Macomber books!
I did an entrelac felted bag. It's a fun pattern and I'm sure Eleanor will be a beauty!

Queen of the froggers said...

I might get husband that book, thank you for the comments about it!

kim said...

The Lady Eleanor looks lovely. Entrelac is such a satisfying knit (although, in truth, I've only done it once!)...

Ann said...

Lady Elanor is looking good. I must give entrelac a try - it looks interesting.

Shazmina Bendi said...

Go RR Go! GO RR Go! I am standing on the side of the road cheering my favourite knitters on! I am holding out a bottle of champagne ready for when you swing past!

Tanya said...

Oh wow - that looks so fabulous! You'd better get yourself some polkadot shoes in readiness to go with your jersey!

the stripey tiger said...

Ohh she's beautiful! Moody, warm, kind of crushed velvety looking. The karaoke's looking just great. Oh puhleese give us an update shot! :-) Stripey
ps So great to see you stopping by chez stripey and leaving a comment.