I never buy cycling magazines. Except for the one that I bought last week, because I had nothing to read at lunch, and I had already read all four daily papers that are common in these here parts, and I can't bear the thought of sitting in a Japanese restaurant staring at the soy sauce label whilst one waits for ones sushi to arrive.
In one way, it was $10 well spent, because I found out that two shoe makers have introduced models that are wider than normal. I put a big corner fold-over on that page, because I have one foot that is an "E" width and the other is "EE". They are not long, but they are as wide as those bread paddle things that bakers use to plonk bread into ovens. In other words, I have fat feet. I can only wear two types of running shoe - New Balance and Brooks, because they are the only two to make a fat foot shoe. I can only wear two brands of ski boot, as only two make an extra wide toe box, and even then I had to get my current pair melted and stretched in order to stop my toes from going numb and falling off in the snow.
Buying nice, black leather work shoes is a chore that I will not go into, as it would bore both of us to death.
So imagine my delight when I found that Shimano and some other mob that I have never heard of have fat shoes. I took that information on board, and today visited my bike shop to see if they had any available.
The very nice shop bloke showed me the Shimano range, which started at about $169 and then went up and up and up to about triple that. I explained that I didn't care whether I got a road shoe with a stiff sole or not, and I didn't want ratchets instead of velcro to tighten the straps - first and foremost, I wanted a fat shoe, and I could worry about the other features after that.
As I stood there checking out the $169 shoes, he did something on his PC and came back with the bad news.
"Shimano have fat shoes in stock, but they only make fat shoes in two models - the 2nd most expensive, and the most expensive".
I had a choice of a $340 shoe or a $400 shoe.
I was not mentally prepared for that, so I thanked him and left. If he had offered me a $250 shoe, I probably would have bought it.
So I drowned my sorrows by going on a book buying spree at the bookshop across the road. I have about 20 books on an Amazon wish list, and I have been inching towards buying the lot as a late Christmas present to me. I have them on a wish list as I doubted that most of them would ever appear in a book shop here in Sydney. Good books have a bad habit of never making it to Australia.
So, what is in these two bags of goodies?
I gave up many years ago trying to count how many books I own. I now measure them by the foot. I just measured the contents of these two bags - they contain nearly a foot of books.
And no, I am not going to weigh them. They are not icecream.
I started reading "It's your time you're wasting" this afternoon, and Frank Chalk would probably be delighted to know that I am already 46 pages into it. In that time, I have done some gardening, made dinner, done some laundry and the washing up, compiled a shopping list, done some monkey-watching and even blogged a bit. In all, I reckon I had 15 free minutes to read those 46 pages. If you are reading this Frank, I managed to read that much that quickly because I am 40, and went to a very strict and very good school. Discipline was tight and tough, and the teachers were not afraid to wield the cane. If I had the choice between not being caned and finishing school as a loser, or being caned occasionally and finishing near the top of the state in a few subjects, then I'll take a few welts on the bum from time to time.
This is an excellent book. Paul and Tony, if you are reading this, get yourself a copy (both are ex-teaching friends of mine). Anita, who is still teaching, will probably laugh her head of at it.
Since I stacked the largest books at the bottom of the pile, "Wasting Police Time" will be next. I've always enjoyed his blog, so the book should be good. The only book similar to these that I could not get was "Blood, sweat and tea", and it is still on my Amazon wish list. When I buy that box of books from the US, "Blood" will be in it.
Frankly, I was amazed to find these two books in a Sydney book shop. I doubted they would ever make it out here. What's going on that Australians want to buy books buy English bloggers?
Had to buy this one - I love Robert Harris's books. This is third on my list.
I read about this one in The Spectator. It's by James Delingpole, and I enjoy reading his columns in the speccie. I hope that "Coward on the beach" is up to scratch. Again, I cannot explain why this book found space on an Australian bookshelf, but I'm glad it did.
I've read reviews about "Spitfire: portrait of a legend" in both the Spectator and The Economist, and just had to buy it as soon as I saw it sitting there on the "new releases" table.
I picked this up in another bookshop before Christmas, flicked through it and put it back as if I bought this book, I would have bought 10 more, and I didn't want to be carting them home in my backpack. So I jumped at the opportunity today to buy it.
Bjorn Lomburg - do you realise how hard it is to find his books? The woman serving me almost picked this up with tongs, and I am sure she wanted to hold her nose at the same time. Trendy book sellers seem to hate handling his stuff, but since it sells, I guess they have no choice.
I read some reviews of "The day of battle" that were quite good. I was hoping that they'd also have a copy of the new book about the defeat of Japan - can't remember what's it's called. Ah well, one fat book on WWII will have to do.
This one caught my eye - "Band of Brigands", about the first men in tanks. I like books that have an engineering/mechanical component to them, and the story of how the tanks were actually built and deployed, and tactics developed, is one that grabbed me.
And that was it. I doubt I could have carried anymore.
Oh, and they cost more than the $340 Shimano shoes. I can put up with my slightly cramped current bike shoes for a few more months - or at least the time it takes me to read through this lot.
I have also issued strict instructions to J that this unread pile is to remain an unread pile in a prominent position where I can easily find it and access it. I don't want the books filed away in one of the bookcases where I'll never find it again - or where I'll find it next time we move and go, "Why have I never read this book?"