Budgie smuggling

I own up, I’ve finally done it, much against my better judgement and coming to terms with the shame of it – I’ve become a budgie smuggler.

Before I go any further, I’m going to pause for a moment to explain to my English-speaking Spanish friends, the phrase ‘budgie smuggler’ – not what it actually means, that comes later, but what the words mean. The Brits can avert their eyes for a moment.

A budgie is periquito, a small bird the British keep as a pet, a mascote, because of its ability to talk. That’s not to say it can engage in a philosophical debate, but at least it can mimic the human voice to the extent of repeating such banal phrases as, “Who’s a pretty boy, then?”, or “Who’s mummy’s little darlin’?”. One can only hope that one day they get sufficiently advanced to reply, “Not you, you ignorant old harridan,” and “Not yours, you mad, ugly old slapper.” A smuggler is a contrabandista – so the phrase is ‘contrabandista de periquitos’. Now aren’t you glad we got that all sorted out?

In my last email I commented on going to a sports superstore for some cycling shorts, and how I left empty handed after looking at the piece of skin tight apparel that left me shame-faced at even the idea of slipping them over my skinny pins. A few days later I was doing my regular radio phone-in with the delightfully giggly Pauline McGough on Onda Cero, and was telling her about the awful cycling shorts I’d been told to get. “Oh,” she said. “You mean the budgie smugglers.” I didn’t cotton on at first and then she told me to think about it, which I did, and burst out laughing. I suggest the same to you, think about it….chaps in tight shorts, sort of ballerina pants….Budgie Smugglers!

While I was driving back from Alicante the other day, having finally sent of the first section of my new guide to the Costa Blanca, I spotted a sports store called ‘Sprinter’. That’ll be me in a few days, I thought to myself, to which the little devil on my shoulder chortled, “In your dreams, sucker. In your dreams!”

It was three on a Friday afternoon, the time when most self-respecting Spaniards have just finished lunch and are stretching out on the sofa for twenty minutes siesta. Apart from a couple of chicas at the checkouts deep in conversation, totally ignoring the chap who was trying to buy a pair of reflective sunglasses with yellow lenses and white go-faster stripes on the arms – well, you would, wouldn’t you – and a girl patiently folding polo shirts, I was the only one in the vast airplane hangar of a place.

I eventually found the cycling section and began to flick through the slinky, shiny bits of kit that pass themselves off as shorts. The first ones I saw seemed fine as a far as an exhibitionists fashion statement go, and had a couple of straps hanging from the waist band (cricketers, think box; everyone else don’t go there). A sort of ‘lift and separate for chaps, I thought, much as a Wonderbra does for the gels, but without the foam rubber that leaves us males a bit forlorn when we finally get past the clasp at the back. I quickly realised, though, that the straps were braces, and the article was a full-body ensemble. I’d worked up enough courage to try the shorts on and see the lower body clad in form-unforgiving lycra, but to see the full barrel and bosoms so outlined was just too much!

Over on the shorts-without-the braces rail I found a few pairs of just shorts, but they were all either small or XXXL. Small I may not be, but I was damned if I was going to go for the extra biggies, although frankly for something with so many X’s, they didn’t seem that enormous. I found another rack and a pair of M and XL. Confident that at least one pair would fit, I went to the changing rooms to try them on. When I found that both M and XL were so tight that they stopped the circulation just standing up, never mind when the legs were whizzing wheels around, I realised that I’d have to take a deep breath (literally) and try the XXXL.

The rail was only about five metres from the changing rooms, and I’d still not seen any customers in the store. I have never been to a nudist beach as I’m of the opinion that my figure should be kept a closely guarded secret, but hey, there’s nobody around, so why go to all the lengths of putting the trousers back on when I’m only a few seconds walk away from the XXXLs. Clad in a pair of cycling shorts more figure hugging than I suggest you try to imagine, a pairs of black socks and a grey shirt with the tails hanging over the shorts, I stepped out of the cubicle. The rattle of the curtain rails caused a very bonny lady of a certain age to turn her head and see where the noise came from – where the hell had she come from in ninety seconds! She looked me up and down, the glaze of, “Oh, the poor old dear!” showing in her eyes. I immediately dove for cover and grabbed the trousers.

You simply can’t recover from a situation like that, can you? The best I can say is that, fortunately, the tails of my shirt were long enough not to show whether I was smuggling budgies or not, but the white skin gaping between short bottoms and sock tops probably said it all.

Thank the lord I didn’t try the full braces kit is all I can say!

To learn more about Education For All, the reason I’m doing this bike ride, go to Education For All Morocco. If you would like to make a donation you can make it on-line by going here Derek Workman, or paying cash into my Spanish bank account ES45 2090 2802 4301 0016 8891 (ignore ES45 if you are in Spain), and I will hand it over direct to the charity.

If you would like to receive updates of my trip, please click on the box below (Notify me of new posts via email) and they will be sent direct to you as I write them. If you have absolutely no idea what this is all about, drop me an email and I’ll bring you up to date.


6 Responses to “Budgie smuggling”

  1. John Maher Says:

    Sounds as if you really are going to help to give those Moroccan girls an education.

  2. valpaparazzi Says:

    Now, deary, don’t get saucy!

  3. merche Says:

    Animo Derek!! Good luck!!

  4. Olga Fedina Says:

    Good luck!

  5. Carlos Says:

    Estoy ansioso por recibir noticias tuyas, animo!!!!

  6. Pauline Says:

    Hope all’s going well and you managed the 60k you mentioned on radio!!

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