Monday, 15 September 2008

Pedal your own canoe

A pedalo has a turning circle to rival the London taxi... if the taxi were driving in custard, on rails,with a giraffe attached to the back... While not a useful mode of tranport, though, the pedalo is at least a very superior way to get some exercise on a sunny afternoon.
A shame that the boating area in Battersea Park is not large - in your allotted half hour you can probably fit in around five circuits, which is frankly plenty. But the pedalo also provides the opportunity for schadenfreude over the poor souls who thought they could manage a rowing boat. There is one particular narrow area where most come to grief, while pedalos queue up behind them or demonstrate their superior ability to stop, go backwards and so on. The rowboats have a staggering turning circle in the right hands - they go round, and round, and round, and round, and round...

I rather wish there was mystery shopping for pedalos, but sadly the only 'assignment' I have taken recently was a very prosaic visit to a bank. I have become a mystery shopper in the name of research for a future novel, but am quite enjoying it. Despite the claims of various websites, you will not make your fortune. You'll be lucky if you make £20 per month, before tax. But you will get to lie, mildly, in a good cause. For someone as pathologically, occasionally insultingly, honest as me this should be uncomfortable, but it's oddly liberating. The best performances, of course, are based on truth. I am moderately interested in changing my current account (aren't we all?). But it's fun to be so strongly aware of what someone is saying to you and how you are being treated. Attention to detail is just what usually doesn't happen on either side of that kind of transaction. It's a tiny lesson in human interaction and the things that sustain it, or don't.

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