The Thing Is with Steve Canavan

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I had a low moment on Sunday. The previous evening I had been out with friends. This was something I very much enjoyed as now I’m beyond the age of 40 and have a child, going out socially is becoming as rare as spotting a red squirrel playing tennis.

However, as a result, I may have over-indulged when it came to alcohol, which meant I couldn’t drive home.

The pub we went to is four miles from my house and as were finishing our final drink, I announced I was going to walk home.

‘No you won’t,’ they said, ‘you’re all talk’.

I guffawed and with the misplaced bravado that comes from drinking in excess of four pints of strong bitter, reminded them that a few years back I covered 52 miles in 14 hours as part of a long-distance walk in the Isle of Man (which is an absolutely true story, though I neglected to add that I needed assistance climbing stairs for six days afterwards).

We drained the final dregs from our pints and stepped outside the pub to discover it was freezing and tipping down with rain. There was a taxi rank 25 yards away.

All the group looked at me expectantly. Every inch of me screamed, ‘get a taxi,’ but I’m nothing if not bloody-minded (I once waited 50 minutes in Marks and Spencer for them to put a reduced sticker on a loaf of sourdough bread – they do this at 6.30 each evening in case, like me, you have no life and enjoy purchasing cheap, slightly stale loaves).

So with a nonchalant wave of the hand, I said, ‘right, see you lot later’, turned in dramatic fashion and strode purposefully forward – imagining my friends would look on in awe and think what an amazing chap I was when in reality, as I found out later, big Dave turned to the others and said, ‘what a prat’.

The next hour and 15 minutes are what I’d describe with some under-statement as deeply unpleasant.

Within half a mile I was soaking, shaking, and had lost all feeling in my right hand. At the two-mile stage I had a very vivid image of my motionless corpse being discovered on the pavement the next morning and big Dave giving a tearful speech at my funeral (‘I begged him not to walk...’).

I stumbled through the door at just gone 1.30am (I’d left the pub shortly after midnight) and spent an hour lying in a hot bath in a bid to coax my body temperature back up above zero.

Midway through my bath a bleary-eyed Mrs Canavan, having just woken, entered the bathroom. ‘What the hell are you doing, it’s 20 past 2?’ she said, looking at me in confusion.

“I’ve just nearly died darling,” I whimpered, and described my heroic walk home.

‘Did you not have enough money for a taxi?’ she said.

“Yes,” I stated. ‘Well, you’re an idiot then,’ she replied and marched out the bathroom and back to bed.

The lateness of the night and the severity of my hangover meant not until the next evening was I fit enough to head back and retrieve the car I had left outside the pub.

Mrs Canavan offered to give me a lift but feeling like a little fresh air would do my sickly head good, I announced I’d walk.

The weather was a little kinder – persistent drizzle as opposed to the thudding rain of the night before – and I was more prepared this time, donning a waterproof jacket, woolly hat, and some expensive gloves I’d ordered off the internet that claim to be effective “even if caught in Arctic conditions”.

I walked the four miles in under an hour – amazing how much faster you can get somewhere when walking in a straight line as opposed to a drunken zig-zag – and reached my car.

I pulled out the keys I had carefully placed in my coat pocket and clicked the unlock button.

Nothing. I clicked again. Nothing. I peered at the key and realised, with a mixture of horror and depression, they weren’t my car keys but the keys to Mrs Canavan’s car, parked safely outside our house four miles away.

I let out a series of expletives – at which point I’d like to extend my apologies to the elderly and quite shocked lady walking by – and was left with no other option but to trudge all the way back to my house, retrieve the correct keys (‘you absolute cretin,’ said Mrs Canavan when I told her what had happened) and walk four miles back to the car.

By the time I finally got into my vehicle, I had walked 12 miles and it had taken almost four hours.

I will never drink again.

Bottom line is avoid pythons

Did you read about the woman bitten on the bottom by a python in Australia?

I did and it filled me with horror.

Though fascinated by snakes, I can’t say I’m keen on them coming anywhere within 25 feet of me, and in particular my bottom.

And presumably neither was poor Helen Richards in Brisbane, 
who went to the loo only to feel an incredibly sharp pain in her behind as 
she was – and I quote – “mid-stream”.

She peered down into the toilet bowl to see an eight-foot python – who clearly didn’t appreciate being urinated on – rearing up with its teeth showing.

The woman was taken to hospital for treatment before telling reporters, with some understatement, “I just didn’t expect that”, while a local snake-catcher was called to retrieve the python before it slid away.

“It’s lucky she had the presence of mind not to flush the toilet,” said snake-catcher man, “as the reptile would have disappeared back into the drain and who knows where it would have next popped up.”

In which case I’m guessing the residents in the surrounding area are pretty pleased she didn’t flush too.