“Feeling a bit light-headed?” Dave asked and then doubled over in fits of laughter. It had been a disaster. I had attached a mount to my helmet for a light and we had headed off for an early morning bike ride up Table Mountain. But the mount didn’t attach snugly and the light flopped over. I reattached it to the handlebars, but it wasn’t a good fit either and it swung around, blinding me.
The “light” puns came fast and furiously. “The salesman who sold you that was dim and now you’re in the dark,” said Dave. I groaned. “Oh, lighten up.”
Four times a week a group of us defy winter and ride on the slopes of Table Mountain. We’re world-famous on Facebook and have been named the Lopp – the hairy-legged Legends of Plum Pudding. Plum Pudding is the “gnarly” hill we go up and down. The five of us – Chris “Iceman” Whitfield, Mike “Moose” Finch, Andrew Bradley, Dave Moseley and Jonathan “Goose” Ancer – ride and exchange puns. It’s our thing.
I was driving home after last week’s Banting column and my cellphone crackled and buzzed with text messages from the Loppers. Here is the transcript of the ensuing pun-off. For the purpose of today’s piece the mountain bikers have been renamed RiceChrisPeas Wheatfield, Mousse Finch, Andrew Breadly, Dave Muesli and Gooseberry Ancer, who only contributed at red robots (I promise, mom).
Mousse: Gooseberry, you’re on a roll.
Muesli: I found it to be a bit crumby. After all the hype, it failed to meat expectations. I’ve got no beef with you, but it felt like you were macon it up. I showed it to my family, and now I have a croissant. It’s something my Grain and Graindad might like, though.
Mousse: A war of words between two wordsmiths.
RiceChrisPeas: Two pepper tigers going head-to-head. We’ll need Coffee Annan to make peace.
Muesli: You mean Ban Ting-Moon?
Mousse: Or Butro ButroGarlic?
RiceChrisPeas: Or Roelf Mayonnaise? Although last I heard he was leaven for the Middle Yeast to negotiate with hummus.
Muesli: Do you know if we use the meatric system in SA?
Mousse: Ask former hambassador Tony Lean, he uses it in his book, Don’t Rye for Me, Argentina.
Gooseberry: I suggest you ask Helen Griller – she knows everything. And if you don’t believe me you can ask her yourself. She boasts about how much she knows on Fritter.
Muesli: I’ve got Marthinus van SchalkCake on the other line, I’ll ask him. What do you say, Breadly?
Breadly: I knead to keep quiet when I’ve got nothing to add.
Muesli: I’m starting an anti-Banting sports team. My first two signings are Falafel du Plessis and Breadly Wiggins.
Gooseberry: You should get Pita Kirsten.
RiceChrisPeas: And Kourie and Rice.
Muesli: Jimmy Cook as coach.
Gooseberry: No, Braai’n Habana.
Muesli: The anti-Bantings will play their starch-rivals, the Bantings.
Breadly: Vleis Visagie is a staple in that team.
RiceChrisPeas: So are Mince van der Bijl and David BeckHAM.
Gooseberry: And Lewis HAMilton and Cheeseter Williams.
Breadly: Don’t leave out Lambie.
So thanks to the Plum Pudding bakers, er, bikers, my job is done. All that’s left is to come up with a Banting crossword clue: Noakes ate carbs initially but now has this warning (2, 5).*
*NO CAKES: Which you get when you put a C (the first letter of carbs – “carbs initially”) inside (“ate”) NOAKES – NoCakes.