当前位置: Language Tips> 新闻播报

A man, his garden shed, and a very unusual pastime

中国日报网 2016-09-27 09:30



Get Flash Player

Writer: Chris Peterson

Like thousands of British men, I have a shed in my garden.

It’s where I keep my tools, some books, and where I retreat from time to time if I need some solitude. I’m very proud of it, because I built it myself. A man needs a shed, in other words.

But there are sheds and there are sheds.

Take Kevin Kicks from Oxfordshire, in central England. On Sunday he went to his shed, like tens of thousands of other British men enjoying a day off in the last days of summer.

The difference is he then drove it at 88 miles an hour along a disused airfield runway.

Kevin, whose shed is an impressive wooden-planked affair with double-glazed windows and a proper A-framed roof, mounted it on a van chassis and joined a few dozen other people with frankly weird tastes.

Whilst Kevin was muscling his way down the runway – he didn’t quite break the record, as far as I can tell – another fellow-eccentric mounted a jet-propelled shopping trolley and blasted his way to a world record of 61.18 miles an hour, literally astride a jet turbine engine and strapped to a shopping cart. Matt McKeown, you’re a very brave man. Daft as a brush, of course.

If there’s one quality Britons prize above anything else, it’s eccentricity.

I should know, I come from a long line of eccentrics.

My maternal grandfather, for example, was a large, bombastic former chief of police and a bona fide war hero from World War I, who’d been a boxer in his youth. Not what you would call a subtle man.

Nor was he a man given to expressing emotion, he used to dot his letters with little sketches of dogs and cats that wouldn’t have disgraced a cartoon book.

My late uncle John was the real deal as far as eccentricity was concerned. Our family folk lore is littered with stories of his oddball antics. I mean, do you known anyone who would eat Brussels sprouts RAW, or suck the last dregs out of used tea bags?

His eccentricity attained new heights when he reached his old age. Unable to drive any more, he acquired a custom-built tricycle, and he’d wear a woollen bobble hat surmounted by a giant pair of headphones with a radio he’d built in, and a foot-long antenna sticking out.

Then, with his two dogs attached to the handlebars on a long lead, he would wobble off around the country lanes of Buckinghamshire every evening.

Motorists, needless to say, gave him a wide berth.

It must be genetic. His father was a true gentleman with exquisite Edwardian manners, who never learnt to drive. Instead he built his thriving real estate business by using the local rural bus service – and after each journey, would solemnly tip the rather bemused driver.

So I imagine reading about people breaking world speed records for sheds, shopping trolleys, sleds, mono-motorcycles and rocket-powered motor bikes seems normal to us Brits.

But what on earth does the rest of the world make of it all?

I shudder to think.



A man, his garden shed, and a very unusual pastime

Greg Fountain is a copy editor and occasional presenter for China Daily. Before moving to Beijing in January, 2016 he worked for newspapers in the Middle East and UK. He has an M.A in Print Journalism from the University of Sheffield, a B.A in English and History from the University of Reading.



















关于我们 | 联系方式 | 招聘信息

Copyright by chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved. None of this material may be used for any commercial or public use. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 版权声明:本网站所刊登的中国日报网英语点津内容,版权属中国日报网所有,未经协议授权,禁止下载使用。 欢迎愿意与本网站合作的单位或个人与我们联系。



Email: languagetips@chinadaily.com.cn